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Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities => Science, Culture, & Humanities => Topic started by: Crafty_Dog on June 28, 2009, 11:42:03 PM

Title: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 28, 2009, 11:42:03 PM
From the WSJ, some book reviews:


1.The Journals of Lewis and Clark

There are hundreds of books on the Lewis and Clark expedition— scholarly treatises, narratives, biographies, collections of maps. Engrossing reading, sure, but why choose them when the original journals by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark exist? Even if the prose is rough, the journals are an American treasure, a first-hand account of the discovery of a nation. There is a hypnotic, galvanizing power in the daily descriptions of rivers forged, buffaloes seen, Indians met, meals eaten, illnesses suffered, plants examined, rainstorms weathered and dangers overcome. No matter the hardship experienced over the more than two years they spent in the wilds, the two explorers always managed to update their journals, as Lewis did one winter day: “The ink f[r]iezes in my pen,” he complained, before continuing with his account. When Clark writes on Nov. 7, 1805, “Ocian in view! O! the joy,” your heart, too, will leap.

2. The Great Bridge
By David McCullough
Simon & Schuster, 1972

No other structure better represents American industriousness and ingenuity than the Brooklyn Bridge. In this magisterial account, David McCullough describes its design and construction with all the drama of an epic battle. John A. Roebling, the original engineer of what would be the longest suspension bridge in the world upon its opening in 1883, dies after being injured in a dockside accident as he scouted the construction site. His eldest son, ­Washington Roebling, takes up the cause, but frequent journeys below the murky East River waters to set the foundations of the bridge’s two massive stone towers leave him crippled with decompression sickness, or “the bends.” His wife, Emily, all but assumes command of the ­endeavor and sees the project through to its glorious completion.

3. Paul Revere’s Ride
By David Hackett Fischer
Oxford, 1994

David Hackett Fischer offers a bracing corrective to the ­traditional view of the lone silversmith named Revere on horseback alerting Massachusetts ­patriots with the cry: “The British are coming!” Paul Revere, the author ­observes, would never have warned of the “British” approach; the colonists still considered themselves British, even if on the cusp of revolution. A minor point, perhaps, but evidence of how legend becomes accepted fact. More important, Fischer shows that though Revere—a “gregarious man, a great joiner”—might have led the alarm-sounding effort, he was far from alone. Dozens of other brave riders set about the countryside on the night of April 18, 1775.

4. The Right Stuff
By Tom Wolfe
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979

In Tom Wolfe’s chronicle of Project Mercury and America’s first manned space flight in the early 1960s, we have the perfect marriage of writer and story. With his unblinking eye, Wolfe reveals what constituted the “right stuff”—for test pilots like Chuck Yeager, and, despite the skepticism of some of those flyboys, the seven Mercury ­astronauts who vied for the chance to perch atop a rocket filled with liquid ­oxygen and go where no man had gone before. “It was not bravery in the simple sense of being willing to risk your life,” Wolfe writes, because “any fool could do that.” No, “a man should have the ability to go up in a hurtling piece of machinery and put his hide on the line and then have the moxie, the reflexes, the ­experience, the coolness, to pull it back in the last yawning moment—and then to go up again the next day, and the next day, and every next day.”

5. The Children
By David Halberstam
Random House, 1998

In a Montgomery bus station on May 20, 1961, a young man got down on his knees and prayed for the strength to love the racist mob closing in on him. “When he tried to get up, someone kicked him violently in the back, so viciously that three vertebrae on his spine were cracked.” This is one ­visceral scene among scores of others in David Halberstam’s “The Children,” a sweeping portrait of Nashville activists, most of them students, who brought courageous nonviolent protest to the civil-rights struggle in the Deep South. Halberstam covered the movement as a young reporter for the ­Tennessean, and when he wrote this book four decades later, the memory of those students clearly still burned in his heart.

—Mr. Bascomb’s latest book is ­“Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most ­Notorious Nazi” (Houghton Mifflin).

By Michael B. Ballard
The idea is beguiling: a ­region in the South during the Civil War where the inhabitants, disgusted by slavery and unwilling to support the Confederate cause, take up arms as Union loyalists. Better still, for storytelling purposes, would be a charismatic leader who organizes the resistance.

Such is the legend of what became known as the “Free State of Jones,” a county deep in Mississippi’s piney woods. The area was one of many pockets in the state where dissatisfaction with the Confederacy boiled for much of the war, but only Jones County was elevated by folklore, ­especially in the decades after the war, into a scene of noble rebellion. It helped that the anti-Confederate ­faction there was led by a tall, stern backwoodsman named Newton Knight.

View Full Image

The New York Public Library/Art Resource NY
The Tishomingo Hotel in Corinth, Miss., was used at different times as a hospital by both Union and Rebel troops.
Book Details
The State of Jones
By Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer
Doubleday, 402 pages, $27.50
The operative words here are ­“legend” and “folklore.” Although Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer labor mightily in “The State of Jones” to make the case for Newt Knight and Jones County as emblems of ­enlightened “insurrection” within the Confederacy, the truth, alas, is hardly as inspiring as the authors suppose. Far from being a haven for the ­high-minded, Jones County was a magnet for Confederate deserters. Their hostility to being executed, ­imprisoned or pressed back into the service of a lost cause was the men’s animating principle.

Even among Jones County ­residents who were noncombatants, an antipathy for the Confederate ­government did not automatically translate into pro-Union feelings: The Confederacy was so preoccupied with prosecuting the war, and its finances were so precarious, that the government was scarcely able to protect ordinary citizens, much less provide basic ­services. Anger at one’s own bureaucracy does not mean embracing the enemy’s.

Still, Ms. Jenkins, a journalist, and Mr. Stauffer, a historian, have brought fresh attention to a little-known and interesting sidebar of Civil War ­history. They freely acknowledge their debt to Victoria Bynum’s “The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War” (2001), which is the most scholarly treatment of the subject to date—though, as the subtitle ­indicates, Ms. Bynum was also rather taken with the romantic notion of the troubles in Jones County.

Early on, Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Stauffer posit that Newt Knight and his neighbors were unusual ­Mississippians in that few of them owned slaves—and therefore had no reason to support the South’s ­secession. Jones County, though, was not in a cotton-producing part of the state and, like other areas of ­Mississippi where plantations were rare and the economy not dependent on slave labor, the lack of robust ­interest in the Confederate war effort hardly signaled anti-slavery ­sentiment; slavery simply wasn’t vital to life in these remote areas and didn’t seem worth fighting for.

Collection of Herman Welborn
Newton Knight, a Confederate medic and deserter.
Even if Newt Knight was ­unenthused about fighting for the South, he still enlisted in May 1862 at age 24 rather than face conscription. It helped, the authors note, that he was joined by “twenty-two of his ­closest relatives and friends, young men who hunted together, worshipped together, drank together, helped build one another’s homes, and even ­married one another’s sisters.” The men of Jones County were an insular lot—and it is this insularity that Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Stauffer seem to ­underappreciate in their portrait. The clannishness of Knight, his family and neighbors made them prefer an ­isolated life, and the war had ­disturbed their seclusion. They blamed the Confederacy and readily abandoned the army when Union forces marched across the South.

Knight told an interviewer in the 1920s: “I felt like if they had the right to conscript me when I didn’t want to fight the Union, I had the right to quit when I got ready.” It didn’t take long: Six months after enlisting and ­becoming a medic, Knight joined the thousands of Confederate soldiers who fled the war in Mississippi in the aftermath of the bloody fight at the important railroad-crossroads town of Corinth. He was captured and put back into action; Knight deserted again after the battle of Vicksburg in the summer of 1863. The Mississippi woods by then were teeming with Confederate deserters, and the roads were alive with soldiers sent to round them up. Knight made his way back to Jones County and vowed not to be forced back into service. He and fellow deserters organized to resist any such effort—and were soon fighting ­skirmishes with Confederate soldiers. It is here, with such fighting, that the legend of a “free state” was born.
Title: Declaration of Independence
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 02, 2009, 07:06:44 AM
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 03, 2009, 06:54:10 AM
Monday, July 1, was heavy and hot, and a full-scale summer storm passed through the city late in the morning. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania rose to speak. He knew he was endangering the respect in which he was broadly held, his "popularity," but he once again counseled caution: Slow down, separation from Britain is "premature," to declare independence now would be "to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper." When he sat down, "all was silent except for the rain that had begun spattering against the widows."

Then John Adams rose. He wished he had the power of the ancient orators of Greece and Rome, he said; surely they had never faced a question of greater human import.

Getty Images
 He made, again, the case for independence. Now is the time, the facts are inescapable, the people are for it, we are not so much declaring as acknowledging reality. "Looking into the future [he] saw a new nation, a new time, all much in the spirit of lines he had written in a recent letter to a friend: '. . . We are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world.' " Outside the wind picked up and the storm struck hard with thunder and lightning. Storms had in the past unnerved Adams, but he spoke steadily, logically and compellingly for two hours.

After nine hours of debate, the voting commenced. The yeses were in the majority, but there were more noes than expected. Someone moved a final vote be taken the next morning. Adams and the rest hastily agreed.

That night word reached Philadelphia that the British fleet, a hundred ships, had been sighted off New York.

The next day, July 2, the final voting began. It went quickly. This was a pivotal moment in the political history of man. A creative, imaginative, historically conscious person in the middle of a thing so huge and full of consequence will try to notice things, to keep them forever in his eyes and pass them on. Here is a thing John Adams would never forget:

At 9 in the morning, just as the doors to the Congress were to be closed, "Caesar Rodney, mud spattered, 'booted and spurred,' made his dramatic entrance. The tall, thin Rodney—the 'oddest-looking man in the world,' Adams once described him—had been made to appear stranger still, and more to be pitied, by a skin cancer on one side of his face that he kept hidden behind a scarf of green silk. But, as Adams had also recognized, Rodney was a man of spirit, of 'fire.' Almost unimaginably, he had ridden eighty miles through the night, changing horses several times, to be there in time to cast his vote."

All of these quotes are from David McCullough's "John Adams." More on Mr. McCullough in a moment.

The vote was completed: 12 for independence, New York abstaining, no one opposing. "The break was made, in words at least: on July 2, 1776, in Philadelphia, the American colonies declared independence. If not all 13 clocks had struck as one, twelve had, and with the others silent the effect was the same."

On July 3, Congress argued over the wording and exact content of the formal Declaration. An indictment of the slave trade was dropped. In all, Thomas Jefferson saw roughly 25% of what he'd written wind up on the floor.

On July 4, discussion ended, debate was closed, a vote on the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was called, and the results were as on July 2. Congress ordered the document be printed. They'd sign it in a month. For now, John Hancock and one other, Charles Thompson, fixed their signatures.

Those present thought the great day had been July 2—the vote for independence itself. John Adams, who'd emoted over the 2nd in letters to Abigail, didn't even mention the 4th , and Thomas Jefferson famously went shopping that afternoon for ladies' gloves.

But on the morning of July 5, the people of Philadelphia started getting their hands on independently printed copies of the Declaration, and the impact was electric: My God, look what they said yesterday—"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." And on the 6th, a local newspaper carried the text of what had been agreed upon on the 4th. And so the celebration of the Fourth of July as one of the signal moments in the history of human freedom, was born. And so we mark it still.

* * *

Getty Images
David McCullough.
On David McCullough: Almost all the details in the above come from his "John Adams" and "1776". He is America's greatest living historian. He has often written about great men and the reason may be a certain law of similarity: He is one also. His work has been broadly influential, immensely popular, respected by his peers (Pulitzer Prizes for "Truman" and "John Adams," National Book Awards for "The Path Between the Seas" and "Mornings on Horseback") and by the American public. It is not often—it is increasingly rare—that the academy shares the views of the local dry cleaner, the student flying coach and the high school teacher, but all agree on Mr. McCullough, as they did half a century ago on, say, Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. He is admired by normal people and esteemed by the intellectual establishment.

Why? Here are a few reasons. He has the eye of a gifted reporter and the depth of a historian. He sees and explains the true size of an incident or endeavor, he factors in, always, the fact that we are human, and he captures the detail that is somehow so telling—it was a scarf of green silk, not soft muslin, that Rodney wore to the vote on American independence. He writes like a dream, of course. He is broad gauged and has range—the Johnstown flood, the building of the Panama Canal, the founders.

Mr. McCullough betrays no need to be contrarian but is only too happy to knock down history's clichés, to wit George III, the mad doofus, who was in fact "tall and rather handsome" and played both the violin and piano. "His favorite composer was Handel, but he adored also the music of Bach." He rendered "quite beautiful architectural drawings," assembled a distinguished art collection, collected books that in time constituted "one of the finest libraries in the world," loved astronomy, was nonetheless practical, and had a gift for putting people at their ease. He impressed even crusty old Samuel Johnson, who after meeting him called him "the finest gentleman I have ever seen." As for the famous madness, he suffered not during the American Revolution but later in life from what appears to have been "prophyria, a hereditary disease not diagnosed until the twentieth century."

One can't know if Mr. McCullough is correct in his judgment here, or fully so. One can know he inspected the available data, pondered it, and attempted a fair-minded assessment. He is reliable. (Of how many can that be said?) And he loves America. His work has gone to explaining it to itself, to telling its story.

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns.

And click here to order her new book, Patriotic Grace. Almost two years ago, I was lucky enough to tour Mount Vernon with a dozen people including him. (If I were David McCullough I would know the date and time. But I know the weather.) At the bottom of a stairway leading to the second floor, we chatted for a moment, and I asked him how he accounted in his imagination for the amazing fact of the genius cluster that founded our nation. How did so many gifted men, true geniuses, walk into history at the same time, in the same place, and come together to pursue so brilliantly a common endeavor? "I think it was providential," he said, simply.

Well, so do I. If you do too, it's part of what you're celebrating today.

Later, after dusk, an unforgettable moment. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association, led by Gay Gaines, retiring after three years as one of its greatest regents—she'd worked herself like a rented mule to solidify and expand the operation—gave us dinner on a long table on the piazza, the veranda overlooking the unchanged Potomac. It is where President and Mrs. Washington dined. It was hot, and now dark, and David McCullough rose to speak of Washington, of his courage and leadership. A storm had been gathering all day. Now it broke, and as he spoke of Valley Forge there was, literally, a sudden roar of thunder, and lightning lit the clouds over the river. Mr. McCullough continued, with his beautiful voice, and we all got a chill: What kind of moment is this? What could we possibly have done to deserve it?

Nothing of course. Some gifts are just given.

That's what Mr. McCullough's work has been, a gift, one big enough for a nation. So thanks today to the memory of John and Tom and George, and old Ben, and John Dickinson, and Caesar Rodney too. Good work, gentlemen. You too, David.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 03, 2009, 07:31:41 AM
second post of the morning

'I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence." This statement from Abraham Lincoln in Philadelphia in 1861 was no staff-manufactured line. It was an expression from a man filled with deep emotion at finding himself standing in the hall where a courageous band of rebels pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to a high and dangerous purpose -- American independence. We celebrate them on July Fourth.

Lincoln revered the Declaration and its ideals of liberty and equality. In an 1858 speech in Chicago, he said it was "the father of all moral principle" in the American republic, and its spirit "the electric cord . . . that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together."

He spent much time pondering the hardships endured by those who had fought for independence. In that speech he called them "iron men." As a boy, he read accounts of the patriots' battlefield struggles in Parson Weems's "Life of Washington" and thought, as he told the New Jersey state Senate in 1861, that "there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for."

Yet in Lincoln's time, the Declaration and its spirit was under attack. Proponents of slavery insisted that the Founders did not intend for the God-given right to liberty in the Declaration to apply to all people. The notion that "all men are created equal" was belittled by John C. Calhoun in 1848 as "the most false and dangerous of all political error."

The Declaration had its detractors abroad as well. Across Europe, members of privileged classes sneered at the thought of people ruling themselves. Many a nobleman viewed the Civil War as proof that the American democratic experiment would fail.

British statesman John Bright took them to task: "Privilege thinks it has a great interest in this contest, and every morning, with blatant voice, it . . . curses the American Republic. Privilege has beheld an afflicting spectacle for many years past. It has beheld thirty millions of men, happy and prosperous, without emperor, without king . . . Privilege has shuddered at what might happen to old Europe if this grand experiment should succeed."

Lincoln understood that if the American experiment of self-government were to succeed, the country must be saved on the basis of the Declaration of Independence. It was no accident that in the first sentence of the Gettysburg Address, he quoted the Declaration, reminding Americans that from the beginning the nation had been dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Lincoln also understood that the struggle over the Declaration was part of an eternal struggle between two principles at the basis of all government. "They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle," as he put it in one of his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas. "The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings."

The struggle continues today. Terrorists and dictators hate the United States for its founding principles. They prefer to rob people of liberty, subjugate women, and spread their power by the sword. Yet America still has iron men and women who stand up to such tyrants. These iron men are now fighting on battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document in the same sense as the Constitution. No one talks about a law being "undeclarational," or opines about their "declarational rights." Yet it remains the first and in some ways most universal of our great founding documents. As Lincoln said in Philadelphia in February 1861, there is "something in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time."

As long as the United States stands fast for the moral principles of July 4, 1776, we will continue to be the bulwark of freedom, the last best hope of earth.

Messrs. Bennett and Cribb are the authors of the "American Patriot's Almanac" (Thomas Nelson, 2008).
Title: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 09, 2009, 06:24:08 PM
In the debate over who deserves credit for causing the Berlin Wall to collapse on the night of November 9, 1989, many names come to mind, both great and small.

There was Günter Schabowski, the muddled East German politburo spokesman, who in a live press conference that evening accidentally announced that the country's travel restrictions were to be lifted "immediately." There was Mikhail Gorbachev, who made it clear that the Soviet Union would not violently suppress people power in its satellite states, as it had decades earlier in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. There were the heroes of Poland's Solidarity movement, not least Pope John Paul II, who did so much to expose the moral bankruptcy of communism.

And there was Ronald Reagan, who believed the job of Western statesmanship was to muster the moral, political, economic and military wherewithal not simply to contain the Soviet bloc, but to bury it. "What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term—the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history," he said in 1982, to the astonishment and derision of his critics. Now, there was the audacity of hope.

All of these figures played their part, as did a previous generation of leaders who insisted that the West had a moral duty to defend the little enclave of freedom in Berlin.

Fulfilling that duty came at a price—71 British and American servicemen lost their lives during the Berlin Airlift—that more "pragmatic" politicians might have gladly forgone for the promise of better relations with the Soviets. Not a few NATO generals thought the defense of Berlin needlessly exposed their forces in a militarily indefensible position while giving the Russians an opportunity to blackmail the West as they advanced on strategically more vital ground, particularly Cuba.

Yet if the West's stand in Berlin demonstrates anything, it is that moral commitments have a way of reaping strategic dividends over time. By ordering the airlift in 1948, Harry Truman saved a starving city and defied Soviet bullying. As importantly, he showed that the U.S. would not abandon Europe to its furies, as it had after World War I, thus helping to pave the way for the creation of NATO in April 1949.

By holding firm for 40 years, Truman and his successors transformed what was supposed to be the Atlantic alliance's weakest point into its strongest. To know what the West stood for during most of those years, one merely had to go to Berlin, see the Wall, consider its purpose, and observe the contrasts between the vibrant prosperity on one side of the city and the oppressive monotony on the other.

Those contrasts were even more apparent to the Germans trapped on the wrong side of the Wall. Barbed wire, closed military zones and the machinery of communist propaganda could keep the prosperity of the West out of sight of most people living east of the Iron Curtain. But that wasn't true for the people of East Berlin, many of whom merely had to look out their windows to understand how empty and cynical were the promises of socialism compared to the reality of a free-market system.

Yet it bears recalling that even these obvious political facts were obscure to many people who lived in freedom and should have known better. "Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy," said CBS's Dan Rather just two years before the Wall fell. And when Reagan delivered his historic speech in Berlin calling on Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall," he did so after being warned by some of his senior advisers that the language was "unpresidential," and after thousands of protesters had marched through West Berlin in opposition.

It is a tribute to Reagan's moral and strategic determination, as it was to everyone else who played their part in bringing down the Wall, that they could see through the sophistries of Soviet propagandists, their Western fellow travelers, and the legions of moral equivocators and diplomatic finessers and simply look at the Wall.

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle," George Orwell once said. That is what the heroes of 1989 did with unblinking honesty and courage for years on end until, at last, the Wall came tumbling down.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: DougMacG on November 09, 2009, 10:11:22 PM
Thank you Crafty for marking Reagan in particular for his leadership that led to the collapse of the wall.  Much as Barack and Hillary think it is all about them and others think that everyone worked toward that goal, really most didn't.  IIRC, Reagan stood up to a Democratic congress over defense spending, he stood up to massive protests in Europe for the deployment of Pershing II missiles, he stood up to the objections of both Gorbachev and his own advisers regarding SDI at Reykjavik.  And he stood up to his own speechwriters and diplomacy team regarding the command to tear down the wall.
The quote:  "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Keep in mind that the wall was in Berlin, East Germany and Mr. Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union.  Reagan didn't even bother to call on East Germany to tear down the wall.   He was calling it out for what it what it was - a puppet repressive machine controlled from a distance and he was calling out his counterpart to back up his talk about openness and reform, glasnost and perestroika, with action and deed.

Here is an inside story written by the speech writer:

Watch the video again with the sad thought in mind that the current first family never found any reason to be proud of America before Barack was nominated.  :-(
Title: Diplomacy that will live in infamy
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 06, 2009, 08:16:12 AM
Saw this piece in POTH (NYT) today.  I have no idea whether it is leftist revisionist drivel or has merit.


Diplomacy That Will Live in Infamy

Published: December 5, 2009

SIXTY-EIGHT years ago tomorrow, Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. In the brutal Pacific war that would follow, millions of soldiers and civilians were killed. My father — one of the famous flag raisers on Iwo Jima — was among the young men who went off to the Pacific to fight for his country. So the war naturally fascinated me. But I always wondered, why did we fight in the Pacific? Yes, there was Pearl Harbor, but why did the Japanese attack us in the first place?

In search of an answer, I read deeply into the diplomatic history of the 1930s, about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy on Asia, and his preparation — or lack thereof — for a major conflict there. But I discovered that I was studying the wrong President Roosevelt. The one who had the greater effect on Japan’s behavior was Theodore Roosevelt — whose efforts to end the war between Japan and Russia earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

When Theodore Roosevelt was president, three decades before World War II, the world was focused on the bloody Russo-Japanese War, a contest for control of North Asia. President Roosevelt was no fan of the Russians: “No human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, as arrogant — in short, as untrustworthy in every way — as the Russians,” he wrote in August 1905, near the end of the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese, on the other hand, were “a wonderful and civilized people,” Roosevelt wrote, “entitled to stand on an absolute equality with all the other peoples of the civilized world.”

Roosevelt knew that Japan coveted the Korean Peninsula as a springboard to its Asian expansion. Back in 1900, when he was still vice president, Roosevelt had written, “I should like to see Japan have Korea.” When, in February 1904, Japan broke off relations with Russia, President Roosevelt said publicly that he would “maintain the strictest neutrality,” but privately he wrote, “The sympathies of the United States are entirely on Japan’s side.”

In June 1905, Roosevelt made world headlines when — apparently on his own initiative — he invited the two nations to negotiate an end to their war. Roosevelt’s private letter to his son told another story: “I have of course concealed from everyone — literally everyone — the fact that I acted in the first place on Japan’s suggestion ... . Remember that you are to let no one know that in this matter of the peace negotiations I have acted at the request of Japan and that each step has been taken with Japan’s foreknowledge, and not merely with her approval but with her expressed desire.”

Years later, a Japanese emissary to Roosevelt paraphrased the president’s comments to him: “All the Asiatic nations are now faced with the urgent necessity of adjusting themselves to the present age. Japan should be their natural leader in that process, and their protector during the transition stage, much as the United States assumed the leadership of the American continent many years ago, and by means of the Monroe Doctrine, preserved the Latin American nations from European interference. The future policy of Japan towards Asiatic countries should be similar to that of the United States towards their neighbors on the American continent.”

In a secret presidential cable to Tokyo, in July 1905, Roosevelt approved the Japanese annexation of Korea and agreed to an “understanding or alliance” among Japan, the United States and Britain “as if the United States were under treaty obligations.” The “as if” was key: Congress was much less interested in North Asia than Roosevelt was, so he came to his agreement with Japan in secret, an unconstitutional act.

To signal his commitment to Tokyo, Roosevelt cut off relations with Korea, turned the American legation in Seoul over to the Japanese military and deleted the word “Korea” from the State Department’s Record of Foreign Relations and placed it under the heading of “Japan.”

(Page 2 of 2)

Roosevelt had assumed that the Japanese would stop at Korea and leave the rest of North Asia to the Americans and the British. But such a wish clashed with his notion that the Japanese should base their foreign policy on the American model of expansion across North America and, with the taking of Hawaii and the Philippines, into the Pacific. It did not take long for the Japanese to tire of the territorial restrictions placed upon them by their Anglo-American partners.

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Times Topics: Pearl Harbor
Japan’s declaration of war, in December 1941, explained its position quite clearly: “It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia for the past hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under the Anglo-American policy of imperialistic exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation.”

In planning the attack on Pearl Harbor, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto was specifically thinking of how, 37 years earlier, the Japanese had surprised the Russian Navy at Port Arthur in Manchuria and, as he wrote, “favorable opportunities were gained by opening the war with a sudden attack on the main enemy fleet.” At the time, the indignant Russians called it a violation of international law. But Theodore Roosevelt, confident that he could influence events in North Asia from afar, wrote to his son, “I was thoroughly well pleased with the Japanese victory, for Japan is playing our game.”

It was for his efforts to broker the peace deal between Russia and Japan that a year and a half later Roosevelt became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize — and one of only three presidents to do so while in office (the other two are Woodrow Wilson and President Obama, who will accept his prize this week). No one in Oslo, or in the United States Congress, knew the truth then.

But the Japanese did. And the American president’s support emboldened them to increase their military might — and their imperial ambitions. In December 1941, the consequence of Theodore Roosevelt’s recklessness would become clear to those few who knew of the secret dealings. No one else — including my dad on Iwo Jima — realized just how well Japan had indeed played “our game.”
Title: America's first debt bomb and how the Founding Fathers solved it
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 23, 2010, 01:43:36 PM
From the Glen Beck website:

The Revolutionary Debt Bomb - And How the Founders Fixed It!
February 22, 2010 - 13:01 ET

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t think our fiscal house is about to slide into the ocean?

Whether one accepts the government’s estimates of a national debt that nears $10 trillion, or whether one thinks the numbers provided by Richard Fisher of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which includes all the “unfunded” parts of Medicare (A, B, and D) at another $85.6 trillion, for a total of $95.6 trillion, the United States faces a staggering level of debt. And Fisher’s numbers do not include Social Security, which now, for the first time, has seen its out-flows exceed its income, and which adds another $10 trillion (at least) to the totals. The Medicare debt alone would stick each American family of four with a bill of $1.3 million, or about 25 times the average household’s income. Taken together, these levels of debt exceed the Gross National Product of probably half the nations in the world put together.

But history offers some hope. The young republic of the United States of America faced an equally daunting debt bomb in 1788, and, perhaps given the new nation’s utter lack of credit history, an even greater challenge than we face today. But the Founders dug their way out to the point of fiscal solvency fairly quickly, and within a decade the nation was viewed as a sterling credit risk. How was this possible?

It began with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton—often a punching bag for some conservatives because of his big-government proclivities. But Hamilton knew that the only way to establish credit was to pay your bills. The situation confronting the United States, coming out of the Revolutionary War and the Articles of Confederation, was this: states had issued their own debt—some more, some less than others—and the United States, through the Continental Congress had also accumulated debts. Hamilton insisted the nation had to pay them all, and that a policy of “assumption” was the only sure way to convince foreign investors that we were an honorable Republic and not a banana republic! Despite fierce battles, he carried the day in Congress: the U.S. would pay all debts accumulated by the national and state governments. But how? Hamilton’s genius showed in his next maneuver, as he knew he needed to attract the “monied men,” as he called them. He structured a “menu” of new bond/debt options, in which longer-term debts received higher returns. Thus, if an investor had little confidence in the United States, he took short-term bonds which paid off less; and if an investor thought the nation would survive and prosper, he bought long-term bonds with their higher payoff. Throughout it all, Hamilton, contrary to popular opinion, did not wish to see the country saddled with debt. He said debt “is perhaps the NATURAL DISEASE of all governments,” and his first actions as Treasury Secretary were designed to reduce the nation’s indebtedness.[ii]

Hamilton’s restructuring of the debt on the surface may have resembled what Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of “Koli-for-nya” did in 2004, but only on the surface. Hamilton ensured that payments on the debt went to the oldest debt first, and through a “sinking fund,” no new debt could be contracted until the old debt had been settled—in essence setting the United States up with an “American Express” version of credit instead of a Mastercard/Visa “revolving” credit line. So while the U.S. indebtedness remained at about $83 million when Thomas Jefferson became president, the payments on interest remained at a minimum.

In part, Hamilton also knew that he could count on those whom he knew well—President George Washington, plus John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson (two men quite likely to hold the office in the future)—to limit spending and to practice federal frugality. Indeed they did. They ran the government with a handful of secretaries and a few hundred public officials; they carefully watched expenditures, with the largest being the construction of four large frigates under Adams and Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana for $15 million. Yet despite the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson still managed to slice more than one-quarter off the national debt.

All the Founders recognized that for the “monied men” to ally with the new nation, it had to honor its contracts (which it did through assumption); it had to establish a sound currency (which it did by adopting a gold standard and coining money along the Spanish system of tens and fives); and by paying its debts, which it did. By the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the nation had a surplus, but more important, it had a sterling credit record, and investment money flowed into the new nation. Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Madison, and Jefferson had all adroitly kept the “Revolutionary Debt Bomb” from exploding, and instead leveraged it for the growth of future generations. The key was confidence—confidence in the fiscal frugality and restraint of the leaders, confidence by the business sector in the government. Do either of those exist today?

While the numbers are staggering, like all numbers they matter little compared to the “animal spirits” of entrepreneurship, investment, and business growth. A sunny Ronald Reagan dug the U.S. out of deep straits just 30 years ago. The Founders, operating with even less, founded a nation on confidence and freedom, and the lessons of history tell us that such turnarounds can occur if the nation is determined to once again defuse its debt bomb.

Larry Schweikart

University of Dayton

co-author, A Patriot’s History of the United States


. Richard W. Fisher, “Storms on the Horizon,” Remarks before the Commonwealth Club of California, May 28, 2008.

[ii]. One of the best analyses of Hamilton’s program is in Charles Calomiris, “Alexander Hamilton,” in Larry Schweikart, ed., The Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography: Banking and Finance to 1913 (New York: Facts on File, 1990
Title: The Stamp Act of 1765
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 22, 2010, 06:49:48 AM
With the passage of the Health Bill an apparent certainty, this is a tad ironic.  Hat tip to Freki.

On this day 1765

Great Britain Passes the Stamp Act (1765)
Intended to help pay British debts from the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act established the first direct tax levied on the American colonies. It required all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other papers issued in the colonies to bear a tax stamp. The act was vehemently protested by the colonists, and the Stamp Act Congress—the first significant joint colonial response to any British measure—petitioned for its repeal.
Title: WSJ: Did FDR get us out of the Depression?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 12, 2010, 05:27:26 AM
'He got us out of the Great Depression." That's probably the most frequent comment made about President Franklin Roosevelt, who died 65 years ago today. Every Democratic president from Truman to Obama has believed it, and each has used FDR's New Deal as a model for expanding the government.

It's a myth. FDR did not get us out of the Great Depression—not during the 1930s, and only in a limited sense during World War II.

Let's start with the New Deal. Its various alphabet-soup agencies—the WPA, AAA, NRA and even the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority)—failed to create sustainable jobs. In May 1939, U.S. unemployment still exceeded 20%. European countries, according to a League of Nations survey, averaged only about 12% in 1938. The New Deal, by forcing taxes up and discouraging entrepreneurs from investing, probably did more harm than good.

What about World War II? We need to understand that the near-full employment during the conflict was temporary. Ten million to 12 million soldiers overseas and another 10 million to 15 million people making tanks, bullets and war materiel do not a lasting recovery make. The country essentially traded temporary jobs for a skyrocketing national debt. Many of those jobs had little or no value after the war.

No one knew this more than FDR himself. His key advisers were frantic at the possibility of the Great Depression's return when the war ended and the soldiers came home. The president believed a New Deal revival was the answer—and on Oct. 28, 1944, about six months before his death, he spelled out his vision for a postwar America. It included government-subsidized housing, federal involvement in health care, more TVA projects, and the "right to a useful and remunerative job" provided by the federal government if necessary.

Roosevelt died before the war ended and before he could implement his New Deal revival. His successor, Harry Truman, in a 16,000 word message on Sept. 6, 1945, urged Congress to enact FDR's ideas as the best way to achieve full employment after the war.

Congress—both chambers with Democratic majorities—responded by just saying "no." No to the whole New Deal revival: no federal program for health care, no full-employment act, only limited federal housing, and no increase in minimum wage or Social Security benefits.

Instead, Congress reduced taxes. Income tax rates were cut across the board. FDR's top marginal rate, 94% on all income over $200,000, was cut to 86.45%. The lowest rate was cut to 19% from 23%, and with a change in the amount of income exempt from taxation an estimated 12 million Americans were eliminated from the tax rolls entirely.

Corporate tax rates were trimmed and FDR's "excess profits" tax was repealed, which meant that top marginal corporate tax rates effectively went to 38% from 90% after 1945.

Georgia Sen. Walter George, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, defended the Revenue Act of 1945 with arguments that today we would call "supply-side economics." If the tax bill "has the effect which it is hoped it will have," George said, "it will so stimulate the expansion of business as to bring in a greater total revenue."

He was prophetic. By the late 1940s, a revived economy was generating more annual federal revenue than the U.S. had received during the war years, when tax rates were higher. Price controls from the war were also eliminated by the end of 1946. The U.S. began running budget surpluses.

Congress substituted the tonic of freedom for FDR's New Deal revival and the American economy recovered well. Unemployment, which had been in double digits throughout the 1930s, was only 3.9% in 1946 and, except for a couple of short recessions, remained in that range for the next decade.

The Great Depression was over, no thanks to FDR. Yet the myth of his New Deal lives on. With the current effort by President Obama to emulate some of FDR's programs to get us out of the recent deep recession, this myth should be laid to rest.

Mr. Folsom, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, is the author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?" (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Mrs. Folsom is director of Hillsdale College's annual Free Market Forum.
Title: Founding Amateurs?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 03, 2010, 08:12:39 AM
Published: May 2, 2010
Providence, R.I.

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Alex Nabaum
THE American public is not pleased with Congress — one recent poll shows that less than a third of all voters are eager to support their representative in November. “I am not really happy right now with anybody,” a woman from Decatur, Ill., recently told a Washington Post reporter. As she considered the prospect of a government composed of fledgling lawmakers, she noted: “When the country was founded, those guys were all pretty new at it. How bad could it be?”

Actually, our founders were not all that new at it: the men who led the revolution against the British crown and created our political institutions were very used to governing themselves. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and John Adams were all members of their respective Colonial legislatures several years before the Declaration of Independence. In fact, these Revolutionaries drew upon a tradition of self-government that went back a century or more. Virginians ran their county courts and elected representatives to their House of Burgesses. The people of Massachusetts gathered in town meetings and selected members of the General Court, their Colonial legislature.

Of course, women, slaves and men without property could not vote; nevertheless, by the mid-18th century roughly two out of three adult white male colonists could vote, the highest proportion of voters in the world. By contrast, only about one in six adult males in England could vote for members of Parliament.

If one wanted to explain why the French Revolution spiraled out of control into violence and dictatorship and the American Revolution did not, there is no better answer than the fact that the Americans were used to governing themselves and the French were not. In 18th-century France no one voted; their Estates-General had not even met since 1614. The American Revolution occurred when it did because the British government in the 1760s and 1770s suddenly tried to interfere with this long tradition of American self-government.

Of course, a deep distrust of political power, especially executive power, had always been a part of this tradition of self-government. Consequently, when the newly independent Americans drew up their Revolutionary state constitutions in 1776, most states generally limited the number of years their annually elected governors could successively hold office.

“A long continuance in the first executive departments of power or trust is dangerous to liberty,” declared the Maryland Constitution. “A rotation, therefore, in those departments is one of the best securities of permanent freedom.” In addition to specifying term limits for its plural executive, the radical Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 required that after four annual terms even the assemblymen would have to give way to a new set of legislators so they would “return to mix with the mass of the people and feel at their leisure the effects of the laws which they have made.”

At the same time, the Articles of Confederation also provided that no state delegate to the Congress could serve more than three years out of six.

In the decade after the Declaration of Independence, however, many American leaders had second thoughts about what they had done amid the popular enthusiasm of 1776. Since many of the state legislatures were turning over roughly 50 percent of their membership annually and passing a flood of ill-drafted and unjust legislation, stability and experience seemed to be what was most needed.

As a consequence, many leaders in the 1780s proposed major changes to their constitutional structures, including the abolition of term limits. In Pennsylvania, reformers eliminated rotation in office on the grounds that “the privilege of the people in elections is so far infringed as they are thereby deprived of the right of choosing those persons whom they would prefer.”

The new federal Constitution, itself a reaction to the excessive populism of 1776, also did away with any semblance of term limits, much to the chagrin of Thomas Jefferson and many others uneasy over the extraordinary power of the presidency. Jefferson thought that without rotation in office the president would always be re-elected and thus would serve for life. When he became president he stepped down after two terms and thus affirmed the precedent that Washington had established — a precedent finally made part of the Constitution by the 22nd Amendment in 1951.

Although federal term limits have been confined to the presidency, the fear of entrenched and far-removed political power, as the present anti-incumbency mood suggests, remains very much part of American popular culture. Yet precisely because we are such a rambunctious and democratic people, as the framers of 1787 appreciated, we have learned that a government made up of rotating amateurs cannot maintain the steadiness and continuity that our expansive Republic requires.

Gordon S. Wood, a professor emeritus of history at Brown, is the author, most recently, of “Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815.”
Title: WSJ: Jefferson'
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 02, 2010, 07:48:33 AM
The tenderest words in American political history were cut from the document they were to have graced.

It was July 1, 2 ,3 and 4, 1776, in the State House in Philadelphia. America was being born. The Continental Congress was reviewing and editing the language of the proposed Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson, its primary author, was suffering the death of a thousand cuts.

The tensions over slavery had been wrenching, terrible, and were resolved by brute calculation: to damn or outlaw it now would break fragile consensus, halt all momentum, and stop the creation of the United States. References to the slave trade were omitted, but the founders were not stupid men, and surely they knew their young nation would have its date with destiny; surely they heard in their silence the guns of Fort Sumter.

Still, in the end, the Congress would not produce only an act of the most enormous human and political significance, the creation of America, it would provide history with one of the few instances in which a work of true literary genius was produced, in essence, by committee. (The writing of the King James Bible is another.)

The beginning of the Declaration had a calm stateliness that signaled, subtly, that something huge is happening:

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separate."

This gave a tone of moral modesty to an act, revolution, that is not a modest one. And it was an interesting modesty, expressing respect for the opinion of the world while assuming the whole world was watching. In time it would be. But that phrase, "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind" is still a marker, a reminder: We began with respect. America always gets in trouble when we forget that.

The second paragraph will, literally, live forever in the history of man. It still catches the throat:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

What followed was a list of grievances that made the case for separation from the mother country, and this part was fiery. Jefferson was a cold man who wrote with great feeling. He trained his eyes on the depredations of King George III: "He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns. . . . He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compete the work of death, desolation and tyranny . . ."

Members of the Congress read and reread, and the cutting commenced. Sometimes they cooled Jefferson down. He wrote that the king "suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these states." They made it simpler: "He has obstructed the Administration of Justice."

"For Thomas Jefferson it became a painful ordeal, as change after change was called for and approximately a quarter of what he had written was cut entirely." I quote from the historian David McCullough's "John Adams," as I did last year at this time, because everything's there.

Jefferson looked on in silence. Mr. McCullough notes that there is no record that he uttered a word in protest or in defense of what he'd written. Benjamin Franklin, sitting nearby, comforted him: Edits often reduce things to their essence, don't fret. It was similar to the wisdom Scott Fitzgerald shared with the promising young novelist Thomas Wolfe 150 years later: Writers bleed over every cut, but at the end they don't miss what was removed, don't worry.

"Of more than eighty changes in Jefferson's draft during the time Congress deliberated, most were minor and served to improve it," writes Mr. McCullough. But one cut near the end was substantial, and its removal wounded Jefferson, who was right to be wounded, for some of those words should have stayed.

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.Jefferson had, in his bill of particulars against the king, taken a moment to incriminate the English people themselves—"our British brethren"—for allowing their king and Parliament to send over to America not only "soldiers of our own blood" but "foreign Mercenaries to invade and destroy us." This, he said, was at the heart of the tragedy of separation. "These facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us renounce forever" our old friends and brothers. "We must endeavor to forget our former love for them."

Well. Talk of love was a little much for the delegates. Love was not on their mind. The entire section was removed.

And so were the words that came next. But they should not have been, for they are the tenderest words.

Poignantly, with a plaintive sound, Jefferson addresses and gives voice to the human pain of parting: "We might have been a free and great people together."

What loss there is in those words, what humanity, and what realism, too.

"To write is to think, and to write well is to think well," David McCullough once said in conversation. Jefferson was thinking of the abrupt end of old ties, of self-defining ties, and, I suspect, that the pain of this had to be acknowledged. It is one thing to declare the case for freedom, and to make a fiery denunciation of abusive, autocratic and high-handed governance. But it is another thing, and an equally important one, to acknowledge the human implications of the break. These were our friends, our old relations; we were leaving them, ending the particular facts of our long relationship forever. We would feel it. Seventeen seventy-six was the beginning of a dream. But it was the end of one too. "We might have been a free and great people together."

It hurt Thomas Jefferson to see these words removed from his great document. And we know something about how he viewed his life, his own essence and meaning, from the words he directed that would, a half-century after 1776, be cut onto his tombstone. The first word after his name is "Author."

America and Britain did become great and free peoples together, and apart, bound by a special relationship our political leaders don't often speak of and should never let fade. You can't have enough old friends. There was the strange war of 1812, declared by America and waged here by England, which reinvaded, and burned our White House and Capitol. That was rude of them. But they got their heads handed to them in New Orleans and left, never to return as an army.

Even 1812 gave us something beautiful and tender. There was a bombardment at Fort McHenry. A young lawyer and writer was watching, Francis Scott Key. He knew his country was imperiled. He watched the long night in hopes the fort had not fallen. And he saw it—the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

And so to all writers (would-be, occasional and professional) and all editors too, down through our history: Happy 234th Independence Day. And to our British cousins: Nice growing old with you.
Title: titanic mistakes
Post by: ccp on September 23, 2010, 11:57:02 AM
Interesting piece.  Granddaughter of the most senior surviving Titanic officer states he claimed two giant errors were made and covered up.  First the person steering the boat turned the boat the wrong way after the iceberg was spotted - as though he was steering a sailing and not steam vessel.  Then instead of stopping cold in the water they kept sailing effectively hastening the sinking of the vessel.  Even then they were afriad of lawsuits and covered up the truth - (assuming this is true).  I wonder if law firms have anyone they can sue now for the benefit of the descendants?

****Wed Sep 22, 11:50 am ET
LONDON (Reuters) – The Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 because of a basic steering error, and only sank as fast as it did because an official persuaded the captain to continue sailing, an author said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Louise Patten, a writer and granddaughter of Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, said the truth about what happened nearly 100 years ago had been hidden for fear of tarnishing the reputation of her grandfather, who later became a war hero.

[A brief history of the Titanic]

Lightoller, the most senior officer to have survived the disaster, covered up the error in two inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic because he was worried it would bankrupt the ill-fated liner's owners and put his colleagues out of a job.

"They could easily have avoided the iceberg if it wasn't for the blunder," Patten told the Daily Telegraph.

Click image to see recent Titanic expedition photos

AP/Premier Exhibitions, Inc.-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
"Instead of steering Titanic safely round to the left of the iceberg, once it had been spotted dead ahead, the steersman, Robert Hitchins, had panicked and turned it the wrong way."

Patten, who made the revelations to coincide with the publication of her new novel "Good as Gold" into which her account of events are woven, said that the conversion from sail ships to steam meant there were two different steering systems.

[Video: A closer look at the Titanic disaster]

Crucially, one system meant turning the wheel one way and the other in completely the opposite direction.

Once the mistake had been made, Patten added, "they only had four minutes to change course and by the time (first officer William) Murdoch spotted Hitchins' mistake and then tried to rectify it, it was too late."

Patten's grandfather was not on watch at the time of the collision, but he was present at a final meeting of the ship's officers before the Titanic went down.

There he heard not only about the fatal mistake but also the fact that J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of Titanic's owner the White Star Line persuaded the captain to continue sailing, sinking the ship hours faster than would otherwise have happened.

[The price of tickets, the case of the drunk survivor, and other fascinating Titanic facts]

"If Titanic had stood still, she would have survived at least until the rescue ship came and no one need have died," Patten said.

The RMS Titanic was the world's biggest passenger liner when it left Southampton, England, for New York on its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. Four days into the trip, the ship hit an iceberg and sank, taking more than 1,500 passengers with it.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)****
Title: Forensics say Titanic could not have continued sailing
Post by: ccp on October 04, 2010, 12:17:34 PM
Titanic Shipwreck: New Revelations or Hype?
According to my trusted source, chairman of marine forensics for SNAME, naval architects concur that the Titanic could not have continued “full speed ahead”, as stated by writer Louise Patton–grand-daughter of 2nd officer Lightoller. The following article reveals  what  Lightoller supposedly heard during the original hearings. Ms. Patton is chosing to disclose this information to coincide with the release of her book–one which is based on family conversations.

Although it may be true that the steersman panicked and ordered the fatal turn, it is scientifically refuted that the ship could continue to sail after encountering the massive iceberg.

Titanic sunk by steering mistake, author says

Top of Form

Reuters – The RMS Titanic in what is thought to be the last known image of the ship as she sets sail from Queenstown …

Slideshow:Titanic expedition provides new images

– Wed Sep 22, 11:50 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – The Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 because of a basic steering error, and only sank as fast as it did because an official persuaded the captain to continue sailing, an author said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Louise Patten, a writer and granddaughter of Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, said the truth about what happened nearly 100 years ago had been hidden for fear of tarnishing the reputation of her grandfather, who later became a war hero.

[A brief history of the Titanic]

Lightoller, the most senior officer to have survived the disaster, covered up the error in two inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic because he was worried it would bankrupt the ill-fated liner’s owners and put his colleagues out of a job.

“They could easily have avoided the iceberg if it wasn’t for the blunder,” Patten told the Daily Telegraph.

Click image to see recent Titanic expedition photos

AP/Premier Exhibitions, Inc.-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Instead of steering Titanic safely round to the left of the iceberg, once it had been spotted dead ahead, the steersman, Robert Hitchins, had panicked and turned it the wrong way.”

Patten, who made the revelations to coincide with the publication of her new novel “Good as Gold” into which her account of events are woven, said that the conversion from sail ships to steam meant there were two different steering systems.

[Video: A closer look at the Titanic disaster]

Crucially, one system meant turning the wheel one way and the other in completely the opposite direction.

Once the mistake had been made, Patten added, “they only had four minutes to change course and by the time (first officer William) Murdoch spotted Hitchins’ mistake and then tried to rectify it, it was too late.”

Patten’s grandfather was not on watch at the time of the collision, but he was present at a final meeting of the ship’s officers before the Titanic went down.

There he heard not only about the fatal mistake but also the fact that J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of Titanic’s owner the White Star Line persuaded the captain to continue sailing, sinking the ship hours faster than would otherwise have happened.

[The price of tickets, the case of the drunk survivor, and other fascinating Titanic facts]

“If Titanic had stood still, she would have survived at least until the rescue ship came and no one need have died,” Patten said.

The RMS Titanic was the world’s biggest passenger liner when it left Southampton, England, for New York on its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. Four days into the trip, the ship hit an iceberg and sank, taking more than 1,500 passengers with it.

Title: WSJ: FDR's purge
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 13, 2010, 05:18:31 AM
In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt trounced Republican Alf Landon by 24 percentage points in the popular vote and won the biggest electoral landslide in American history. Equally impressive were the lopsided congressional victories that year: a 76-16 majority over the feeble Republicans in the Senate, a 334-88 majority in the House.

With such a mandate, Roosevelt set out to expand the New Deal and to give himself the power to make it work. He pushed bills to establish a minimum wage and streamline his control over the executive branch. To fend off a Supreme Court that had struck down key aspects of the New Deal, he tried adding another six justices to the court. Yet the popular president soon found that all his political capital wasn't worth much in Congress.

"Just nine months after Roosevelt's landslide election, opposition in his own party had grown assertive, militant, and confident—and the New Deal had come to a standstill," writes Susan Dunn in "Roosevelt's Purge." Ms. Dunn, a professor at Williams College, delves into a fascinating and overlooked aspect of the FDR presidency: Roosevelt's brazen effort to assert control over his own party in the summer of 1938.

Ms. Dunn has written an engaging story of bare - knuck led political treachery that pits a president at the peak of his popularity against entrenched congressional leaders who didn't like where he was taking the country and their party. FDR tried to use the power of the White House, and his personality, to run his opponents out of the Democratic Party. He failed miserably.

When Roosevelt's second-term agenda hit a brick wall of Democratic opposition, he first tried a charm offensive. In June 1937, he invited every Democrat in the House and Senate to be his guest for a weekend getaway at the Jefferson Islands Club on the Chesapeake Bay. (Well, not quite every Democrat—the six women in Congress were not on the list.) The president treated them to a weekend of skeet shooting, fishing, poker and skinny dipping. The New York Times reported he had done himself "a world of good," easing tension with congressional Democrats.

View Full Image
.Roosevelt's Purge
By Susan Dunn
(Belknap/Harvard, 361 pages, $27.95)
.Not really. When the skinny dipping and skeet shooting were over, his agenda was still stalled. Four weeks later, 70 senators again voted to block his court-packing bill. One of the few to support the president was Sen. Hattie Caraway of Arkansas, the only woman in the Senate and the only Democratic senator not invited to the president's weekend retreat.

It was time to play hardball. As Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau put it: "There has got to be a fight and there has got to be a purge." Roosevelt made a decision. He would drive the conservatives out of the party, beginning with those who faced competitive primaries in 1938. He had reason to believe that he could call the shots. He had won the South in 1936 by the kind of margins that would make a Soviet leader blush: 87% of the vote in Georgia, 96% in Mississippi, 98.6% in South Carolina.

One of FDR's first targets was Georgia Sen. Walter George. The senator had opposed parts of FDR's agenda but eagerly sought his support in his Democratic primary, even writing him a letter apologizing for his political transgressions. "I have never meant to be offensive to you," he wrote, adding that he had never "at any time felt anything but deep affection for you."

With much fanfare, FDR traveled to Barnesville, Ga., in August 1938 to dedicate a rural electrification project. Before a large crowd of enthusiastic FDR supporters and with George sitting a few feet behind him, Roosevelt went for the kill against "my old friend, the senior senator from this state."

"On most public questions," Roosevelt said of George, "he and I don't speak the same language." After lambasting the senator for standing in the way of progress, he told the crowd that if he could vote in the upcoming primary, he would "most assuredly" cast his ballot for George's opponent, Lawrence Camp. To reinforce FDR's popularity in Georgia, Ms. Dunn writes, "federal money rained down on Georgia, including $53 million in WPA funds for building projects in Georgia that promised to create thirty-five thousand jobs."

FDR did the same in state after state, endorsing liberal primary challengers against incumbent Democratic senators. The conservatives fought back hard. "Their attempt to pack the Court failed," one opponent said of Roosevelt and his team, "and their attempt to pack the Senate will fail." In Maryland, Sen. Millard Tydings turned FDR's support for his primary opponent into a central campaign issue, condemning the president's "invasion" of Maryland and declaring: "The Maryland free state shall remain free."

Tydings was perhaps the most anti-New Deal Democrat in Congress and the one Roosevelt wanted defeated above all others. He instructed Harold Ickes to "take Tydings' hide off and rub salt in it." But it was FDR who would be rubbed in salt. Tydings trounced his FDR-backed opponent in a 20-point landslide. A bitter Roosevelt refused to congratulate him.

And it wasn't just Tydings. All of the Democratic senators targeted by FDR coasted to victory in their Democratic primaries. The voters may have liked their president, but they didn't want him picking their senator. In the general election, Roosevelt didn't fare any better. Republicans picked up eight Senate seats and nearly doubled their numbers in the House.

For FDR, it may have been a blessing in disguise. As the focus of his presidency quickly changed to containing Nazi Germany, Roosevelt's closest allies would be the very conservatives he opposed in 1938. He would never again attempt to intervene in a party primary. He had learned a lesson that needs re-learning from time to time: Political purges are more effectively done by the voters, not by the power brokers in Washington.

Mr. Karl is senior political correspondent for ABC News.
Title: NYTimes: Jefferson Davis at Vicksburg 150 years ago today
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 03, 2010, 05:11:32 AM
Vicksburg, Miss., Nov. 3, 1860

From “Ballou’s Pictorial,” 1855
Antebellum VicksburgDuring the last days of the campaign, while Lincoln stayed close to home and held his tongue, another man who would soon be president played somewhat less coy.
For six full weeks, Senator Jefferson Davis had been barnstorming through Mississippi on behalf of the Southern Democrats. The state was ablaze with excitement, even though — or perhaps because — most knew that the party’s candidate was bound for defeat. Amid torchlight marches, barbecues and fireworks shows, orators were preaching less about what would happen on election day itself than on what might follow it. At Vicksburg on Nov. 3, Davis told a crowd:

If Mississippi in her sovereign capacity decides to submit to the rule of an arrogant and sectional North, then I will sit me down as one upon whose brow the brand of degradation and infamy has been written, and bear my portion of the bitter trial. But if, on the other hand, Mississippi decides to resist the hands that would tarnish the bright star which represents her on the National Flag, then I will come at your bidding, whether by day or by night, and pluck that star from the galaxy and place it upon a banner of its own. I will plant it upon the crest of battle, and gathering around me the nucleus of Mississippi’s best and bravest, will welcome the invader to the harvest of death; and future generations will point to a small hillock upon our border, which will tell the reception with which the invader met upon our soil.

Not all of his state’s “best and bravest” shared Davis’s apparent eagerness to welcome federal troops to “the harvest of death.” The Vicksburg Whig’s editor denounced the senator’s oration as showing “how inordinate vanity, operating upon a moderate intellect, flattered by past successes, may influence its possessor to the most inflated of self-laudation.”

But death would indeed reap its ample harvest at Vicksburg, less than three years later.

Title: Stpehen Field
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 05, 2010, 03:18:45 PM
Hat tip to BBG for this very nice little piece which I paste here:

Happy birthday, Stephen J. Field!
Today is the birthday of one of the great figures in the history of American liberty—Stephen Johnson Field, who was born on this day in 1816.

Field was born into an illustrious family; his brother, Cyrus, laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable (and is mentioned in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea), and his other brother, David Dudley Field, was perhaps the most famous and influential lawyer in his day. But unlike his brothers, Stephen came west to California in 1849, arriving in San Francisco, where he started a law firm. It failed quickly, and he moved to Marysville, where he was soon elected alcalde—something similar to mayor. After serving in the state legislature, Field was elected to the California Supreme Court in 1857, and soon achieved wide respect, although he clashed with his colleague, Chief Justice David S. Terry. When Terry shot and killed California Senator David Broderick in a duel two years later, Field replaced him as Chief Justice of California.

In 1863, needing a western Democrat for the Supreme Court, Abraham Lincoln appointed Stephen Field to the new 10th seat, making him the first Californian on the Supreme Court. Field soon distinguished himself as a defender of economic freedom and a friend to the Chinese immigrants who were so severely persecuted in California at the time. While riding circuit in the state, for instance, Field struck down the San Francisco “queue ordinance.” This was a law requiring any person who was thrown in jail to first have his head shaved. Although the government claimed this was a health measure intended to prevent lice infestation, Field recognized that it was really an attempt to allow the cutting off of the Chinese workers’ long hair braids, or queues, that they prized for traditional reasons: “we cannot shut our eyes to matters of public notoriety and general cognizance,” Field wrote. “When we take our seats on the bench we are not struck with blindness, and forbidden to know as judges what we see as men.” Ho Ah Kow v. Nunan, 12 F. Cas. 252, 255 (C.C.D. Cal. 1879).

Field was a champion of the individual’s right to earn a living without unreasonble interference by the government. (Which is why I dedicated my book to him.) In a persuasive dissenting opinion in Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. (4 Otto.) 113 (1877), Field argued that a law limiting how much the owners of grain silos could charge for storing grain was a violation of the due process clause, because it violated the owners’ right to do with their property as they pleased—not to protect the general public, but simply to benefit a group that managed to exercise greater political influence than their rivals. The Court majority devised a new test, saying that any business “affected with a public interest” could be regulated by the government in this way, but Field pointed out that the storage of grain was simply “a private business,” and if the legislature could dictate the prices owners could charge simply by declaring that the business is “affected with a public interest,” then “all property and all business in the State are held at the mercy of a majority of its legislature,” which might just as easily

fix the rent of all tenements used for residences, without reference to the cost...[or set prices for] cotton, woollen, and silken fabrics, in the construction of machinery, in the printing and publication of books and periodicals, and in the making of utensils of every variety, useful and ornamental; indeed, there is hardly an enterprise or which the public has not an interest in the sense in which that term is used by the court...and the doctrine which allows the legislature to interfere with and regulate the charges which the owners of property thus employed shall make for its use...has never before been asserted, so far as I am aware, by any judicial tribunal in the United States.

Field rightly saw that Munn would open the door to a flood of government control over businesses, and in the decade that followed (virtually every state held a constitutional convention in the 1870s) legislatures declared industries willy-nilly to be affected with a public interest so that bureaucrats could control large segments of industry. Likewise, in what is probably his most famous opinion—his dissent in The Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873)—Field insisted that the privileges or immunities clause protected, among other rights, the right to engage in a business without unreasonable government interference—a right protected by the common law for more than two and a half centuries at that time.

It’s ironic that Progressive legal theorists like Roscoe Pound later accused the pro-free market judges like Field of being “formalists.” Field was anything but a formalist, as the quote from the queue case suggests. In Cummings v. Missouri, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 277 (1867), he struck down a Missouri law that required people to swear they’d never been a supporter of secession before they could take certain jobs. This scheme was just a clever attempt at double-punishment for the same offense, Field wrote, and

what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows. Its inhibition was levelled at the thing, not the name. It intended that the rights of the citizen should be secure against deprivation for past conduct by legislative enactment, under any form, however disguised. If the inhibition can be evaded by the form of the enactment, its insertion in the fundamental law was a vain and futile proceeding.

Field ended up serving on the Court longer than any other justice except John Marshall. (William O. Douglas later surpassed him.) During that time, his influence on American law was profound—far greater than is usually recognized by legal historians. Upon his retirement from the bench, Field explained that in his view, the Supreme Court was actually the most democratic of the branches of the government, because while the legislature represents the will of temporary majorities that change over time, the Supreme Court’s job is to preserve the Constitution—the true will of the people—and protect it from legislatures that often abuse their constituents and ignore their constitutional limits.

Field also had a very colorful personal life. He ran for President several times while serving on the Supreme Court, and he’s the only Supreme Court justice ever arrested for murder. David Terry—the Chief Justice of California who had resigned after killing Senator Broderick—threatened Field’s life after Field ruled against Terry’s girlfriend in a divorce case. Field was then assigned a bodyguard, a U.S. Marshal named David Neagle. Not long afterwards, when Field was traveling through Lathrop, California, on judicial business, he happened upon David Terry, who walked up to Field and slapped him in the face. Marshal Neagle immediately pulled out his revolver and shot Terry dead. Although the sheriff arrested both Field and Neagle on murder charges, Field was immediately released and never charged. Neagle, however, was charged, and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the Marshal could not be tried under state law.

For more on this remarkable figure, check out Paul Kens’ book Stephen Field: Shaping Liberty from The Gold Rush to The Gilded Age, or Carl Brent Swisher’s book Stephen Field: Craftsman of The Law. Field also wrote a memoir of his early days in California. And not long ago I visited his gravesite.
Title: US Marines
Post by: Freki on November 10, 2010, 06:04:09 AM
Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corp!!!   Thank you all!!!
Title: POTH: Georgia 1860
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 10, 2010, 06:11:13 AM
Georgia to U.S.: ‘Don’t Tread on Me’
Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.
Nov. 9, 1860

Across the country, the day’s headlines blazed with reports of Southerners’ response to Lincoln’s election. Perhaps most disturbing to many Americans, though thrilling to others, was news of a mass meeting in Savannah, Ga., the previous afternoon. Thousands of citizens – the largest gathering that the city had ever seen, newspapers said – had filled Johnson Square at the heart of downtown, thronging around a monument to Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene to launch a revolution of their own. The crowd cheered wildly as a speaker declared that “the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States, ought not and will not be submitted to.” The shouts and whoops redoubled as a flag was unfurled across the white marble obelisk: a banner with a coiled rattlesnake and the words “SOUTHERN RIGHTS. EQUALITY OF THE STATES. DON’T TREAD ON ME.”

Library of Congress
The first flag of Southern independence, raised in Savannah, Ga., on November 8, 1860. CLICK TO SEE FLAG DETAILRelated
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Probably no one mentioned the ironic fact that this Southern banner, one of the very first flags of secession, was raised atop a monument to a Northerner: General Greene had been born and raised in Rhode Island. Like many Americans of the founding generation, he had harbored mixed feelings about slavery – to say the least. “On the subject of slavery, nothing can be said in its defence,” he wrote to a Quaker acquaintance in 1783, while he was in the process of moving to Georgia to take possession of a large plantation and its hundreds of enslaved African Americans, a gift from the state of Georgia. Greene justified this acquisition by claiming that he planned to treat his new chattels kindly. Two years later, just before his early death, he still harbored vague plans to free his slaves and keep them in a system resembling medieval feudalism.

Cleveland Plain Dealer headline, Nov. 9, 1860
In 1860, however, Georgia’s leaders felt no such ambivalence about human bondage. As the secessionists gathered in Savannah, Governor Joseph E. Brown issued a proclamation vindicating Georgia’s right to withdraw from the Union rather than submit to “proud and haughty Northern Abolitionists.” Brown, who came from a family of hardscrabble farmers in northern Georgia, struck a populist tone, as he often did, reminding the South’s poor whites how much better off they were than Northern factory workers:

Here the poor white laborer is respected as an equal. His family are treated with kindness, consideration and respect. He does not belong to the menial class. The negro is in no sense of the term his equal. Be feels and knows this. He belongs to the only true aristocracy, the race of white men. …

These [laborers] know that in the event of the abolition of Slavery, they would be greater sufferers than the rich, who would be able to protect themselves. They will, therefore, never permit the slaves of the South to be set free among them, come in competition with their labor, associate with them and their children as equals – be allowed to testify in our Courts against them – sit on juries with them, march to the ballot-box by their sides, and participate in the choice of their rulers – claim social equality with them – and ask the hands of their children in marriage. …[T]he ultimate design of the Black Republican Party is to bring about this state of things in the Southern States.

But the crowd in Savannah on Nov. 8 probably needed no reminder about the current state of race relations. One of the largest slave pens in Georgia – a business establishment where hundreds of people at a time were often imprisoned, awaiting sale – faced the Greene Monument across Johnson Square.


Sources: New York Times, Nov. 9 and Nov. 12, 1860; Cleveland Plain Dealer, Nov. 9, 1860; Macon Daily Telegraph, Nov. 12, 1860; Terry Golway, “Washington’s General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution”; Gerald M. Carbone, “Nathanael Greene: A Biography of the American Revolution”; George Washington Greene, “The Life of Nathanael Greene, Major-General in the Army of the Revolution”; William W. Freehling and Craig M. Simpson, “Secession Debated: Georgia’s Showdown in 1860”; Walter J. Fraser, “Savannah in the Old South”; Malcolm Bell Jr., “Major Butler’s Legacy: Five Generations of a Slaveholding Family.”

Adam Goodheart is the author of the forthcoming book “1861: The Civil War Awakening.” He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Title: Charleston, SC 1860
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 21, 2010, 11:19:41 AM
As he stepped gingerly from a launch onto the wharf, few of those watching could have imagined that this man would, within a matter of weeks, become the most famous military officer in America. None, surely, could have guessed that women would soon beg for locks of that meticulously combed gray hair, or that woodcuts of that bland, impassive face would appear on the front pages of magazines around the nation and across the Atlantic.

Everything about him seemed middling. He was in his fifties, of intermediate rank, medium height and moderate demeanor; circumspect in his political opinions; pleasant-mannered but lacking in charm; handsome without the slightest degree of magnetism. He was known in the service mainly – to the extent that he was known at all – for having translated certain French artillery textbooks into English. Even his name was nondescript, easily forgettable: Maj. Robert Anderson.

Library of Congress
Robert AndersonAnd yet here was the person to whom the United States government had just entrusted one of the most delicate military and political assignments in American history: command of the federal garrison in Charleston Harbor, the very epicenter of the exploding secession crisis. Perhaps more than any man except Abraham Lincoln himself, Anderson would set the course of events in the months ahead, and would make decisions that fixed the country on a path toward war or peace.

Within a fortnight after Lincoln’s election, everyone in America was aware that South Carolina would soon attempt to leave the Union; its legislature had already set a date for a “secession convention” in less than a month’s time. As soon as the formalities were complete, all federal property within the state’s borders would be, at least to the seceders’ eyes, subject to immediate confiscation. In particular, the three forts guarding Charleston Harbor – of which Anderson was about to take command on behalf of the United States – would immediately become foreign military bases within the sovereign Republic of South Carolina. Would they surrender peacefully – or, by resisting, bring war?

Luckily for the founding fathers of the nascent republic, those three citadels – Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter – “guarded” Charleston in only the most figurative sense. Waiting on Moultrie’s parade ground to welcome Anderson was a tiny detachment of soldiers that could scarcely even be termed a garrison: just two companies of barely 30 men each, not counting a small brass band.

And these were anything spit-and-polish troops. Their outgoing commander, Lt. Col. John Gardner, 67 years old, had been shunted off to Fort Moultrie as a none-too-demanding spot where he could wind down an army career that had begun in the hazy days before the War of 1812. Not surprisingly, Gardner was far from a martinet, and his men spent more time attending local cotillions and barbecues than they did taking artillery practice. Drifts of sand half-covered Fort Moultrie’s outer walls; grazing cows sometimes wandered blithely across the battlements.

Civil War Timeline

An unfolding history of the Civil War with photos and articles from the Times archive and ongoing commentary from Disunion contributors.

Visit the Timeline »
.The two other two forts posed even less of a threat to the forces of secession. Fort Sumter, built on an artificial island in the harbor’s mouth, sat unfinished after decades of start-and-stop construction, and it housed just a few military engineers supervising some civilian workmen. Castle Pinckney, though its guns overlooked the town itself, was under the protection of but a single ordnance sergeant.

The cautious, temporizing administration of James Buchanan, the lame-duck president, may have appointed Anderson because he seemed as unthreatening as the forts themselves. Born in the border state of Kentucky, he detested secessionists and abolitionists in equal measure. The major personally owned no slaves, but his Georgia-born wife had inherited quite a number, whom she later sold off; Anderson once quipped dryly that “the increase of her darkies” had made him rich. He knew both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line well: his long career had seen him posted to Maine and Florida, New Jersey and Virginia. When the War Department plucked him out of the middle ranks of the officer corps for the Charleston appointment, he was serving on a commission to revise the curriculum at West Point, where he had once been an instructor.

Anderson had fought the Seminoles, led troops in the war with Mexico, and been brevetted for gallantry at Molino del Rey – but, as a devout Christian, he loved peace. Indeed, he loathed violence with the certitude of a man who had seen far too much of it already. The Buchanan administration believed it had found a soldier incapable of any rash act, one who would put no American lives at risk either to disrupt the Union or to defend it.

But the officers and men who welcomed Major Anderson to Charleston inspected their quiet new commander with searching eyes. They knew that in a certain sense, he – and they – would hold more power in the months ahead than President Buchanan himself. “The truth is we are the government at present,” one of them would soon write. “It rests upon the points of our swords. Shall we use our position to deluge the country in blood?”

Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 15, 2010, 09:20:10 AM
Today, Dec. 15, is the anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution, as ratified in 1791.

The Bill of Rights was inspired by three remarkable documents: John Locke's 1689 thesis, Two Treatises of Government, regarding the protection of "property" (in the Latin context, proprius, or one's own "life, liberty and estate"); in part from the Virginia Declaration of Rights authored by George Mason in 1776 as part of that state's Constitution; and, of course, in part from our Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson.

Read in context, the Bill of Rights is both an affirmation of innate individual rights and a clear delineation on constraints upon the central government. As oft trampled and abused as the Bill of Rights is, Patriots should remain vigilant in the fight for our rights.

Title: Paul Revere's Ride
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 19, 2010, 09:48:34 AM
NY Times

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW published his best-known poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” 150 years ago tomorrow — the same day that South Carolina seceded from the United States.

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear/ Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” Before Longfellow published those lines, Revere was never known for his ride, and Longfellow got almost every detail of what happened in 1775 wrong. But Longfellow didn’t care: he was writing as much about the coming war as about the one that had come before. “Paul Revere’s Ride” is less a poem about the Revolutionary War than about the impending Civil War — and about the conflict over slavery that caused it. That meaning, though, has been almost entirely forgotten.

Longfellow, a passionately private man, was, just as passionately and privately, an abolitionist. His best friend was Charles Sumner, for whom he wrote, in 1842, a slim volume called “Poems on Slavery.” Sumner, a brash and aggressive politician, delivered stirring speeches attacking slave owners; Longfellow, a gentler soul, wrote verses mourning the plight of slaves, poems “so mild,” he wrote, “that even a slaveholder might read them without losing his appetite for breakfast.”

Still, publishing those poems cost Longfellow something: a piece of his privacy, with pressure from fellow abolitionists to enter politics. “I should be found but a weak and unworthy champion in public debate,” he demurred. Asked to write once more about slavery, he refused: “I think no one who cares about the matter will be at any loss to discover my opinion on that subject.”

Yet Longfellow’s abolitionist zeal didn’t abate. He secretly spent money he earned from his best-selling poems, like “The Song of Hiawatha,” to buy slaves their freedom. In 1856, when Sumner gave his famous “Crime Against Kansas” speech in the Senate, Longfellow congratulated him: “At last the spirit of the North is aroused.” That speech nearly cost Sumner his life — it so incensed a South Carolina representative, Preston Brooks, that he beat Sumner with a cane on the Senate floor.

The next year, Longfellow wrote to Sumner calling the Dred Scott decision heart-breaking, and wishing he could find a way to write about it: “I long to say some vibrant word, that should have vitality in it, and force. Be sure if it comes to me I will not be slow in uttering it.” On Dec. 2, 1859, the day John Brown was hanged, Longfellow wrote in his diary, “This will be a great day in our history, the date of a new Revolution quite as much needed as the old one.”

Pondering that new Revolution, Longfellow got to thinking about the old one. In April 1860, he began writing “Paul Revere’s Ride.” While he worked on the poem, he worried about the fate of the nation. Around the same time he went to see Frederick Douglass speak and read Sumner’s latest speech, which predicted that “the sacred animosity between Freedom and Slavery can end only with the triumph of Freedom.” In November, weeks after finishing “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Longfellow rejoiced in his diary that Lincoln had won the presidency; echoing Sumner, he wrote: “Freedom is triumphant.”

“Paul Revere’s Ride” was published in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic, which appeared on newsstands on Dec. 20. It was read as a rallying cry for the Union. It is a poem about waking the sleeping, and waking the dead: “Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,/ In their night encampment on the hill.” The dead are Northerners, awakened, at last aroused. But the dead are also the enslaved, entombed in slavery — an image that was, at the time, a common conceit: Douglass called his escape “a resurrection from the dark and pestiferous tomb of slavery.”

Much of the poem echoes stanzas in Longfellow’s earlier abolitionist verses, including “The Witnesses”:

These are the bones of Slaves;

They gleam from the abyss;

They cry, from yawning waves,

‘We are the Witnesses!’

Thanks to poems like “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Longfellow was once the country’s most respected and beloved poet. But, beginning with the rise of New Criticism in the early 20th century, literary scholars have dismissed his poetry as cloying, drippy and even childish. Generations of schoolchildren have memorized “Paul Revere’s Ride”; critics have barely read it.

Yet neglecting Longfellow, taking the politics out of Longfellow, thinking of Longfellow as childish, have both occluded the poem’s meaning and made it exceptionally serviceable as a piece of political propaganda. It is, after all, a rousing call to action:

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

The people will waken and listen to hear

The hurrying hoofbeats of that steed,

And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

With the history of the poem forgotten, this became all-purpose stuff. “We still need some Paul Revere of conscience to alert every hamlet and every village of America that revolution is still at hand,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967. In 1971, the Vietnam Veterans against the War marched Revere’s ride in reverse; four years later, Gerald Ford quoted Longfellow to call for renewed pride in America.

This year George Pataki came to Boston to unveil an organization called “Revere America”: “We’re here today to tell the people of America,” he declared, “that once again our freedom is in danger” ... from health care.

A century and a half ago, there was quite a bit more at stake. “The dissolution of the Union goes slowly on,” Longfellow wrote in his diary in January 1861. “Behind it all I hear the low murmur of the slaves, like the chorus in a Greek tragedy.” They cry, from the abyss.

Jill Lepore is a professor of history at Harvard and the author, most recently, of “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History.”

Title: NYTimes: Adam Goodheart: The Night Escape
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 26, 2010, 05:37:22 AM
Charleston Harbor, Dec. 26, 1860

The rowers strained at their oars, gasping with exertion, their breath visible in the chill night air. By good fortune, the water lay almost flat, with just the slightest rolling swell, and each pull drew them several lengths farther on.

None of those men knew that their brief but perilous transit would end up changing American history. Their only thought was of swiftly and silently reaching their destination, barely a mile across the channel: Fort Sumter.
In the second of the three longboats crouched Capt. Abner Doubleday, scanning the moonlit harbor around him. Ahead, in the lead boat, he could make out an unmistakable figure, hawk-like with its beaked nose and enshrouding cloak, clutching something tightly under one arm. This was the garrison’s commander, Maj. Robert Anderson. For weeks, as hostile secessionists drew an ever-tighter cordon around their tiny Union force, Doubleday had speculated endlessly about his close-lipped superior’s intentions. Did Anderson plan to stay put in their pathetically indefensible little citadel at Fort Moultrie, docilely awaiting orders from Washington, until the enemy overwhelmed him? Was the major, a known apologist for slavery, scheming to betray his loyal men to the rebels? Or could he – as Doubleday fervently hoped – be plotting somehow to slip the trap and make a run for the far more secure position that Sumter offered?

The moment of truth had arrived only an hour or so earlier, back at Moultrie. As the sun set over Charleston Harbor, the officers had gathered for their customary late-afternoon tea with the commander. Arriving slightly late, Doubleday greeted his comrades and was met with distracted silence. Then Anderson rose and approached him.

“I have determined to evacuate this post immediately, for the purpose of occupying Fort Sumter,” the major said quietly. “I can only allow you 20 minutes to form your company and be in readiness to start.”

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.Anderson had not previously confided his intentions even to Doubleday, the garrison’s second-ranked officer. He had told only a couple of trusted staff members, whom he’d instructed to charter some vessels, ostensibly to carry the fort’s women and children out of harm’s way. (Many of the men, including Doubleday, still had their families living with them.) On Christmas Day, with Charlestonians distracted by the festivities, crates of essential supplies had been loaded aboard, on the pretext that these were only the noncombatants’ personal effects. A couple of local busybodies showed up at the wharf to supervise the preparations – barring them would have put the secessionist forces on alert – and became suspicious when they saw a crate marked “1,000 ball cartridges” among the cargo. They were quickly assured that this had just been an error, and left after seeing the box offloaded.

As Doubleday realized, the major’s stubborn sense of military honor had trumped his political sympathies. To save his force from ignominious surrender, he would defy the express wishes, if not the explicit commands, of his own superiors in Washington, who wished to do nothing that might offend the aggrieved South. (Anderson, ever the careful West Point academic, had discovered a slight ambiguity of phrasing in the orders that could serve as a loophole.) He would also defy the local secessionist authorities, who had put Moultrie under round-the-clock watch, with armed steamers patrolling the channel between the two forts, under orders to stop or sink any vessel carrying Union soldiers to Sumter.

So now Anderson and his little garrison – barely six dozen officers and men – were crossing just that stretch of water. He had left a small detachment back at Moultrie, manning six heavy cannons. These were loaded, primed and pointed at the channel, ready to fire at any rebel vessel intercepting the troops.

Staying close together, the three boats crossed the broad belt of moonlight, hastening toward the deep shadows cast by Sumter’s hulking walls. As Doubleday peered at the fortress, a strange thought came into his head, one that had occurred to him before: it looked like a prison.

Then, off to one side, he saw a smaller black shape, drawing swiftly closer across the water. Doubleday recognized it: the rebel steamer Nina. An ordinary packet boat in peacetime – a decade earlier, she had borne the body of John C. Calhoun to Charleston – she had recently been pressed into patrol duty. She would be packed with armed militiamen, he knew.

Anderson’s boat and the other one were already veering away, making for the dark shoreline of nearby Sullivan’s Island. Doubleday ordered his own rowers to turn sharply and follow, but the soldiers, inexpert at the oars, bungled the maneuver, leaving their boat flailing in the path of the oncoming steamer.

The Nina drew closer and closer. In an urgent whisper, Doubleday told his men to take off their uniform coats and drape them over their muskets, lest the moonlight reveal the telltale glint of a brass button or polished bayonet. Perhaps, the captain hoped, the rebels might mistake their boat for a civilian vessel. It seemed a desperate, feeble improvisation, but it was now their only hope of escape.

The anxious soldiers saw the Nina’s paddlewheels slow, then stop. Someone aboard seemed to be scrutinizing, pondering. Doubleday’s men, for their part, did not pause; finding their rhythm once more, they pulled hard at the oars, passing within 100 yards of the enemy’s bow. Then the Nina’s engine let off a puff of steam and her wheels turned again, carrying the vessel placidly past.

Minutes later, Doubleday’s boat bumped against the wharf at Sumter. Here his party would have other opponents to contend with. Though the fort was still federal property, not yet seized by the Carolinians, it was superintended by just a single military engineer who oversaw a large team of civilian laborers at work on the fortifications. Many of these men were known to be secessionist sympathizers.

Library of Congress
Entry of Maj. Anderson’s command Into Fort Sumter, published in Harper’s Weekly.And in fact, they were now crowding through the gate toward the wharf. Doubleday saw that many wore blue ribbon cockades, badges of Southern radicalism. “What are these soldiers doing here?” someone shouted angrily.

The captain ordered his small squad into formation. Before his antagonists knew what was happening, they were facing a bristling thicket of bayonets. The startled laborers stumbled back into the fort as Doubleday seized control of the guardhouse. Shortly thereafter, the two boats carrying Major Anderson and the other troops pulled up to the wharf. They placed the disloyal workmen under guard, to be sent ashore to Charleston in the morning. Anderson entered the fort, carrying the bundle he had been holding in the boat: a tightly folded flag.

From the ramparts of Sumter a signal gun rang out, its sharp crack echoing across the water. The detachment back at Moultrie would know that its comrades had arrived at their destination.

As for the secessionists over in Charleston, they would soon awaken to a very unpleasant surprise. “They must have looked upon us as a mouse to play with and eat up at leisure,” one of the Union officers gloated, “but we gave the cat the slip however, and are now safe in our hole.”

At the two forts, men labored through the night, bracing for the fast-approaching moment when that startled cat would unsheath its claws. Midnight passed and dawn approached: one of the last days in a waning year.

Title: The story of two slave revolts
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 06, 2011, 10:14:18 AM
Given the recent tendency to romanticize resistance, it may come as a surprise to learn that throughout history slave rebellions have been comparatively rare, especially in North America, where slaves constituted a minority of the total population. (In Central and South America they were often a majority.) One reason for such rarity was the skill with which masters controlled their workers and suppressed revolt.

Peter Charles Hoffer and Daniel Rasmussen separately tell the story of two of the largest slave revolts in North America—the Stono Rebellion of 1739 in South Carolina and the Louisiana Slave Revolt of 1811. Neither event plays as large a role in the popular imagination as Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831, but each proved a major test for the power of slavery's supporters to enforce their regime and repel the threats to it.

In "Cry Liberty," Mr. Hoffer, a historian at the University of Georgia, offers a novel reinterpretation of the Stono Rebellion and challenges writers to rethink how they portray the resistance it displayed. The rebellion began soon after midnight on Sept. 9, 1739, when a group of some 20 slaves broke into a store along the Stono River near Charles Town (now Charleston), S.C.

Two white men were in the store. The rebels killed them and displayed their heads on the store's front steps. Then they stole some guns and, after killing three more whites, turned south along the main road, beating drums, bearing a flag and crying for liberty. Presumably their destination was Spanish Florida, which had promised freedom to Carolinian slaves. By mid-morning they had recruited another 40 to 80 slaves and killed 18 more whites. They almost captured South Carolina's lieutenant governor.

View Full Image
.Cry Liberty
By Peter Charles Hoffer
Oxford, 173 pages, $19.95
.American Uprising
By Daniel Rasmussen
Harper, 276 pages, $26.99

Then whites sounded the alarm. A large Presbyterian church interrupted its Sunday service, and the men formed a militia. They found the rebels resting in a field and attacked, killing 14. "The mortal wound had come," Mr. Hoffer writes. When order was finally restored, 23 whites and roughly 100 slaves had been killed, and some 30 slaves were "rewarded for protecting their masters."

There is no evidence that the slaves had planned to rebel before breaking into the store. Yet previous accounts have assumed that rebellion was the slaves' aim from the outset. For Mr. Hoffer this reasoning "turns causation around" and ignores the role of chance. Might the saga have begun not as rebellion but as a plan to steal food? What if the tipping point was the discovery of the two whites in the store, prompting a sudden change of plan?

Addressing such questions, Mr. Hoffer structures his book as an elegant and intricate detective story. Along the way, he neatly captures the texture of South Carolina's Low Country in 1739. It was a time when the slave population had almost doubled in a decade, owing to the influx of slaves from Angola. Blacks outnumbered whites by a 2-to-1 ratio. Masters got rich from slave-grown rice. And "death was everywhere." Slaves "reckoned that old comrades and new friends would die before they could start families." In this environment, "something had to give." It did.

Mr. Rasmussen, a recent graduate from Harvard, has turned his senior thesis into "American Uprising," a book on America's largest, and little known, slave revolt. A crisp, confident writer, he tells the story with verve, though ultimately he overreaches by trying to connect his story to 200 years of American history, as if the Louisiana Slave Revolt of 1811 was somehow central to the Civil War, civil rights and national expansion.

On the night of Jan. 8, 1811, 40 miles upriver from New Orleans, some 25 slaves entered the home of Manuel Andry, the parish's largest slaveowner. After wounding Andry, who managed to escape, they killed his son. The slaves' leader, Charles Deslonde, worked as a driver on Andry's plantation and knew it well. He and some comrades donned Andry's military uniforms "to lend the revolt authority." Then they stole Andry's guns and horses and headed south. "On to New Orleans!" Deslonde yelled.

The rebel army quickly grew to between 100 and 500 slaves, according to eyewitnesses. But Gov. William Claiborne called out the militia and federal troops, and within days the rebellion was crushed. While only two whites died in the affair, some 100 slaves were killed and dismembered, their heads put on poles that dotted the roadside for 40 miles, a grim warning to other slaves.

Even had the rebels reached New Orleans, it is unclear what they would have done. No doubt they had been inspired by slaves from St. Domingue, who a few years earlier had fought off colonial armies, abolished slavery and established the black republic of Haiti. Perhaps the Louisiana rebels hoped to create an American Haiti. A few said that they wanted to "kill all the whites." But whites were not their only enemy; many slaves and free blacks aligned themselves with the planters.

In some ways the Louisiana rebels resembled those from South Carolina. A disproportionately large number were Angolan migrants, who beat drums and waved flags as they marched. To recruit adherents, both rebel groups threatened or killed slaves who refused to join them. Any chance of success hinged on the use of terror. Yet both books also dramatize why slave rebellions were almost always suicidal. The violence of the rebellion begat more violence. It is thus no wonder that so many slaves protected their masters and informed on fellow slaves; it was the easiest way to gain power and even freedom.

Mr. Stauffer teaches history and literature at Harvard and is the author of "Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln."

Title: Loose Lips almost sink ship
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 09, 2011, 08:50:48 AM
Charleston Harbor, Jan. 9, 1861

Capt. Abner Doubleday rose early and went up to the parapet of Fort Sumter, scanning the surrounding waters with his telescope. He had seen something flashing out there the night before: a pilot boat signaling that a vessel was approaching Charleston Harbor in the darkness.

Since their move into the fortress two weeks before, Doubleday and his comrades in the small Union garrison had been looking out over that harbor in despair, as the besieging Carolinians were joined by volunteer units from across the Deep South. “If we ascended to the parapet,” he later recalled, “we saw nothing but uncouth State flags, representing palmettos, pelicans and other strange devices. No echo seemed to come back from the loyal North to encourage us. Our glasses in vain swept the horizon; the one flag we longed to see was not there.”

Library of CongressThe Star of the West enters Charleston Harbor, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.
But now, in the morning sunlight, he suddenly saw that longed-for flag, the familiar Stars and Stripes. It was coming across the harbor, fluttering atop the mast of a large merchant steamer making her way up the channel. Doubleday quickly realized which vessel it was. He and the other officers had learned of this steamship and her top-secret mission to Fort Sumter the day before – from an article in a newspaper.

A week earlier, President James Buchanan, prodded into action by the general-in-chief of the Army, Winfield Scott, had at last decided to send reinforcements and provisions to the beleaguered Sumter garrison. Scott had urged that every possible step be taken to keep news of the expedition from getting out. Instead of using a Navy vessel, he chartered an ordinary steamship, the Star of the West. She was to clear New York Harbor as if bound on a regular voyage to New Orleans. Arms, ammunition and 200 federal troops were loaded by tugboats when the ship was discreetly out of sight of the city’s wharves.

Library of CongressHeadline in the New York Herald, Jan. 8, 1861.But the plan had sprung a leak. Actually, multiple leaks. New York longshoremen and tugboat pilots were not noted for their discretion, and by the evening of the Star’s departure, word had reached the city’s newspaper editors – for whom a scoop easily trumped any mere issues of national security. “SECRET MOVEMENTS OF UNITED STATES TROOPS,” blared a headline in the Herald, above a story describing the expedition down to its last detail. Similar reports appeared in papers from Massachusetts to Georgia (including The New York Times).

By that point, however, the secessionist authorities in South Carolina were already fully informed. Buchanan’s secretary of the interior, Jacob Thompson of Mississippi, had learned of the plan, resigned his post and promptly telegraphed Charleston.

The mission’s intended beneficiaries – the loyal troops at Fort Sumter and their commander, Maj. Robert Anderson – were among the last to learn of it. Washington had no secure telegraph line to the garrison, and so the War Department had mailed Anderson a letter. It traveled more slowly than the Star did. When Sumter’s officers saw a newspaper report of the expedition on Jan. 8, they “could not credit the rumor,” Doubleday wrote. “To publish all the details of an expedition of this kind, which ought to be kept a profound secret, was virtually telling South Carolina to prepare her guns to sink the vessel.”

Now the captain watched in astonishment as that very ship – the supposed journalistic figment – puffed laboriously up the channel. Then the crash of a rebel cannon split the morning air.

Doubleday, without waiting to see where the shot hit, rushed headlong downstairs to alert Anderson, who was still in bed. The major ordered his men to their battle stations. They hurried to load and prime Sumter’s cannons.

The Star was still under fire. Solid shot hurtled toward her from a battery on Morris Island manned by teenage cadets from the Citadel, the local military academy. Luckily, the youths were far from expert artillerists, and their cannonballs mostly splashed harmlessly into the water; one or two struck the steamer but did little damage. The American flag on her foremast dipped and rose again, as if the captain were trying to signal the fort. Clearly he expected Sumter’s guns to open upon the rebels and protect him.

Almost at that moment, more cannon fire boomed out, from a different direction: Fort Moultrie, across the channel. The Carolinians were attacking from two directions now. And still Sumter’s gunners stood watching, immobile, awaiting orders; clutching the lanyards that they might pull at any moment to set their own cannons roaring in reply. The entire scene seemed surreal, almost unbelievable: a citadel that had very recently been their own fortress was now firing upon the American flag. One of the lieutenants – a Union officer who bore the improbable and unfortunate name Jefferson C. Davis – begged Major Anderson to unleash his guns on Moultrie.

Anderson hesitated and seemed about to give the order. But another lieutenant, the Virginian Richard K. Meade, began remonstrating with Anderson, reminding him that the first shot from Sumter would mean civil war. Just then, across the channel, the Star began to swing her bow around into a turn.

“Hold on; do not fire,” Anderson said. “I will wait.”

Across the harbor, from the Charleston waterfront, an anxious Carolinian was watching the drama unfold. He was William Henry Trescot, who until recently had been assistant secretary of state in the Buchanan administration, but had just returned home to cast his lot with the rebellion. Now he stood, shuddering, as he thought of Anderson’s garrison and the fate that would befall them if a full-scale artillery battle began. His summer house was a few hundred yards from their former quarters at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island; the Union soldiers had been his friends – occasionally his dinner guests – in peacetime.

“Almost every summer day after breakfast, I used to light my cigar, walk over to Fort Moultrie, sit down in the piazza, and talk away the long morning,” Trescot wrote soon afterward. “It is mortifying to send a cannonball into bowels which have digested your hospitality gratefully and thoroughly. To kill them is almost as bad as to be killed ourselves.”

But the Star of the West was heading out again toward the open sea. The guns around the harbor fell silent, giving way once more to the cries of seagulls and the muted sigh of the waves. Trescot would have no reason to be mortified. Not yet.


Sources: Abner Doubleday, “Reminiscences of Forts Sumter and Moultrie in 1860-’61”; Samuel Wylie Crawford, “The History of the Fall of Fort Sumpter”; New-York Tribune, Jan. 9, 10, and 14, 1861; New York Herald, Jan. 8, 1861; Macon Daily Telegraph, Jan. 7, 1861; Boston Evening Transcript, Jan. 8, 1861; New York Times, Jan. 7 and 10, 1861; Maury Klein, “Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War”; William W. Freehling, “The Road to Disunion, Vol. 2: Secessionists Triumphant.”

Title: When Congress was Armed and Dangerous
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 12, 2011, 02:42:51 AM
THE announcement that Representatives Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Jason Chaffetz of Utah are planning to wear guns in their home districts has surprised many, but in fact the United States has had armed congressmen before. In the rough-and-tumble Congress of the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s, politicians regularly wore weapons on the House and Senate floors, and sometimes used them.

During one 1836 melee in the House, a witness observed representatives with “pistols in hand.” In a committee hearing that same year, one House member became so enraged at the testimony of a witness that he reached for his gun; when the terrified witness refused to return, he was brought before the House on a charge of contempt.

Perhaps most dramatic of all, during a debate in 1850, Senator Henry Foote of Mississippi pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. (Someone eventually took it from his hand.) Foote had decided in advance that if he felt threatened, he would grab his gun and run for the aisle in the hope that stray shots wouldn’t hit bystanders.

Most famously, in 1856, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina caned Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on the Senate floor so brutally that Sumner had to be virtually carried from the chamber — and did not retake his seat for three years. Clearly, wielded with brute force, a cane could be a potent weapon.

By the 1850s, violence was common in Washington. Not long after Sumner’s caning, a magazine told the story of a Michigan judge who traveled by train to the nation’s capital: “As he entered the main hall of the depot, he saw a man engaged in caning another ferociously, all over the room. ‘When I saw this,’ says the judge, ‘I knew I was in Washington.’”

In Congress, violence was often deployed strategically. Representatives and senators who were willing to back up their words with their weapons had an advantage, particularly in the debate over slavery. Generally speaking, Northerners were least likely to be armed, and thus most likely to back down. Congressional bullies pressed their advantage, using threats and violence to steer debate, silence opposition and influence votes.

In 1842, Representative Thomas Arnold of Tennessee, a member of the Whig Party, learned the hard way that these bullies meant business. After he reprimanded a pro-slavery member of his own party, two Southern Democrats stalked toward him, at least one of whom was armed with a bowie knife — a 6- to 12-inch blade often worn strapped to the back. Calling Arnold a “damned coward,” his angry colleagues threatened to cut his throat “from ear to ear.” But Arnold wasn’t a man to back down. Ten years earlier, he had subdued an armed assassin on the Capitol steps.

As alarming as these outbursts were, until the 1840s, reporters played them down, in part to avoid becoming embroiled in fights themselves. (A good many reporters received beatings from outraged congressmen; one nearly had his finger bitten off.) So Americans knew relatively little of congressional violence.

That changed with the arrival of the telegraph. Congressmen suddenly had to confront the threat — or temptation — of “instant” nationwide publicity. As Senator John Parker Hale of New Hampshire reminded his colleagues within minutes of the Foote-Benton clash, reports were “already traveling with lightning speed over the telegraph wires to the remotest borders of the Republic.” He added, “It is not impossible that even now it may have been rumored in the city of St. Louis that several senators are dead and weltering in their blood on the floor of the Senate.”

Violence was news, and news could spawn violence. Something had to be done, but what? To many, the answer was obvious: watch your words. As one onlooker wrote to the speaker of the House shortly after Sumner’s caning, “gentlemen” who took part in the debate over slavery should “scrupulously avoid the utterance of unnecessarily harsh language.” There was no other way to prevent the “almost murderous feeling” that could lead to “demonstrations upon the floor, which in the present state of excitement, would almost certainly lead to a general melee and perhaps a dozen deaths in the twinkling of an eye.”

Unfortunately, such admonitions had little effect. The violence in Congress continued to build until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Today, in the wake of an episode of violence against a member of Congress, we’re again lamenting the state of political rhetoric, now spread faster than ever via Twitter, Web sites, text messaging and e-mail. Once again, politicians are considering bearing arms — not to use against one another, but potentially against an angry public.

And once again we’re reminded that words matter. Communication is the heart and soul of American democratic governance, but there hasn’t been much fruitful discourse of late — among members of Congress, between the people and their representatives or in the public sphere. We need to get better at communicating not only quickly, but civilly.

Joanne B. Freeman, a professor of history at Yale, is at work on a book about violence in Congress.

Title: NYTimes: The Hellcat
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 15, 2011, 11:32:48 AM
It was not quite a full-blown temper tantrum, but Mary Todd Lincoln’s outburst during a mid-January shopping trip raised eyebrows at a time when her husband did not need any more problems. And it signaled that the president-elect would have his hands full governing his own household, on top of everything else.
For him, the early weeks of 1861 were consumed with cabinet-making and the last remnants of the amiable politicking that had characterized so much of his time in Springfield. He still received many visitors, and the journalist Henry Villard marveled that “probably no other President-elect was as approachable by everybody.” He greeted friends and neighbors, and told his jokes, and tried to act like the person they had known for years. (Villard records the unusual spectacle of Lincoln laughing at one of his better punchlines: “A high-pitched laughter lighted up his otherwise melancholy countenance with thorough merriment. His body shook all over with gleeful emotion, and when he felt particularly good over his performance, he followed his habit of drawing his knees, with his arms around them, up to his very face.”)

Yet as March 4 drew closer, and secession loomed larger, it was becoming clear that his life had changed forever. He could not keep up with the huge volume of mail. Some of it was disturbing — crude drawings of skulls and bones, a sketch of Lincoln’s head in a noose; an actual noose itself. The crowds of office-seekers and thrill-seekers were relentless, and he began to restrict their access to him. In many ways, he was already becoming the president, well before the March 4 transfer of power. On Jan. 19, a Mexican diplomat came all the way to Springfield to pay his respects, a sign that the rest of the world was not so far from the prairie. Lincoln’s two assistants, John Hay and John Nicolay, were acting as the White House gatekeepers they would become. And Lincoln was beginning to compile the thoughts that would cohere into his inaugural.

The nearness of the White House was just as keenly felt by his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, only 42 years old. She had wanted this for as long as anyone could remember. When only a girl in Lexington, Kentucky, she rode her pony to the house of Henry Clay, and announced to his dinner party that she would enjoy living in the White House someday. As a young belle, freshly arrived in Springfield, she famously declared her intention to marry a president. Now, against all odds, that prediction was coming true, and she was determined to make the most of it. And to look as good as possible while doing so.
Lincoln, a lifelong advocate of enlightened government, was reluctant to impose it at home (his law partner, William Herndon, complained, “He was the most indulgent parent I have ever known”). If Mary felt a growing urge to cut a national figure, he saw no reason to restrain her. And so, on Jan. 10, she left Springfield on a shopping trip to — where else? — New York City, where she intended to make purchases for the White House and, perhaps, one or two items for herself. She was accompanied by her brother-in-law, Clark Smith, purveyor of “The Best Ladies Goods in Illinois,” and they did the town up in style. She visited New York’s huge department stores, bought jewelry and dresses, mixed and mingled at tea parties and talked gaily to all within earshot.

This was perfectly in character for a woman who had always loved society, and had been bred to it in a way that her husband most certainly was not. She was a gifted conversationalist, spoke French, and as a young lady had dazzled her suitors (including Stephen Douglas, a near-president). This side of her had never been able to flourish during a long and sometimes troubled marriage with a rusticated genius who liked to read books lying on the floor, and cared little for the social graces. She detested the comments that were already appearing in the press, insinuating that she and her husband were Western rubes, and she was determined to bring grace to the White House. The expected transformation would be all the more striking for the fact that James Buchanan’s White House had no First Lady at all. (His niece, Harriet Lane, acted as hostess.)

The problem, as is so often the case in politics, was the timing. It struck some observers as strange that she was shopping so conspicuously in the grave days of secession, and it was even worse that she talked so audibly. “Within earshot” turned out to be a wide arc indeed, and her casual remarks began to seep into the papers — one reporter called it “shocking” that she was “kiting about the country and holding levees in which she indulges in a multitude of silly speeches.”

Her judgment was off, too — she was overheard commenting on the reasons that Lincoln had appointed Seward his secretary of state, and she visited a naval vessel when her husband wanted to avoid all talk of war. Perhaps most ominously, she accepted the unlimited credit lines extended to the wife of a president-elect, with no urgent plan for repayment. In other words, she had not yet grasped that she lived inside a fishbowl. A few months later, a British journalist wrote, “If she but drives down Pennsylvania Avenue, the electric wire trills the news to every hamlet in the Union.” It’s an old lesson: be careful what you wish for.

To make matters worse, she was never able to govern her famous temper, which led Hay and Nicolay to nickname her “The Hellcat.” As she made her way back to Springfield, it erupted. Americans had to change trains more frequently then, and when she arrived at Buffalo, the State Line Railroad had the audacity to ask her to pay for her passage! Didn’t they know who she was? Fortunately, her son Robert was there to calm things down. With polished diplomacy (he would enjoy a long and successful career in the railroad business), he went to the superintendent and said, “My name is Bob Lincoln; I’m a son of Old Abe — the old woman is in the cars raising h-ll about her passes — I wish you would attend to her.” The plea worked; both Lincolns were granted passes.

But unfortunately, that account, hyphenated “h-ll” and all, appeared in The Baltimore Sun, and it was not helpful to Lincoln to have additional bad publicity in a city where a serious assassination plot was being hatched against him. Paradoxically, it might have helped if Mary’s occasional propensity to utter pro-slavery sentiments had been conveyed there (she once said, “If Mr. Lincoln should happen to die, his spirit will never find me living outside the boundaries of a slave State”). One brother and three step-brothers would fight for the Confederacy. But she was a loyal wife, and like so many others, affirmed, “my husband is my country.” For her, it was truer than most.

Lincoln probably knew little of the train episode, and one suspects that he wanted to know even less than he did. He simply wanted her to come home, and for three nights in a row, he went to the train station in Springfield, standing in the rain and snow, hoping she would appear. Finally, on Jan. 25, she did, and all was right again. Villard wrote, “whether she got a good scolding from Abraham for unexpectedly prolonging her absence, I am unable to say; but I know she found it rather difficult to part with the winter gayeties of New York.” With at least one union restored, their last days in Springfield dwindled down, and they savored the precious family time left to them, before the fates swept them up and took them away forever from all that had been normal in their lives.

Sources: Henry Villard, “Memoirs of Henry Villard;” Harold G. and Oswald Garrison Villard, eds., “Lincoln on the Eve of ’61;” Jean H. Baker, “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography;” Catherine Clinton, “Mrs. Lincoln: A Life”; Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner, eds., “Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters;” Daniel Mark Epstein, “The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage;” William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, “Herndon’s Life of Lincoln;” David Herbert Donald, “Herndon and Mrs. Lincoln;” Harry E. Pratt, “The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln;” Earl Schenck Miers, ed., “Lincoln Day by Day.”
Title: NYT: No Better Southern Man
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 23, 2011, 10:40:06 AM

 Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.

The featureless flat plains of West Tennessee seemed an unlikely locale to harbor a “Southern Black Republican.” But his political opponents routinely hung this epithet — and worse — on Rep. Emerson Etheridge. That’s because, unlike many Southern antisecessionists in early 1861, Etheridge continued to proclaim unconditional loyalty to the Union. Even worse, he ridiculed the idea that the Republican Party intended to interfere with slavery. Secessionists and Southern Rights supporters sputtered in frustration. Etheridge, they said, had fallen into “the depths of disgrace and infamy.” He appealed only to the “ignorant and blind lick-spittles” rather than to “the slaveholding and enlightened portion of the people.”

A 40-something widower with two young daughters, Etheridge had an easy charisma and a compelling speaking voice. His young colleague, Robert Hatton, newly elected to represent an adjacent district, quickly developed a fast friendship with Etheridge. “If he was a woman,” Hatton gushed to his wife, Sophia Hatton, “you would be certain we were dead in love with each other. . . . We eat together, walk to and from the Capitol together, sit in the House together, room by each other, [and] are alike in politics, in religion, and our feelings and sympathies.” Both stubbornly shunned alcohol and the other vices of Washington life.

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Rep. Emerson Etheridge of TennesseeEtheridge’s personality and oratorical power made him a natural leader of the close to two dozen members of the House of Representatives who called themselves the “Southern Opposition.” All were former Whigs, almost all from the Upper South. The opposition bloc held the balance of power in the House, which was closely divided between Republicans and Democrats. And they used that influence during the first few months of 1861 to keep the Upper South from seceding – a fact that explodes any notion of the white South as a unified region hellbent on leaving the Union.

Etheridge made one of his most important speeches against secession on the floor of the House on Wednesday, Jan. 23. He charged that secessionists had fabricated a mass delusion: “Thousands believe honestly that Lincoln and his cohorts are coming down to apply the torch and the knife to the dwellings and people of the South.” But that was just baseless hysteria, he said; Republicans had already renounced “any desire or any power to interfere with slavery in the States of this Union.” He scorned the idea that the South needed to expand slavery to the territories, or that the North had defaulted on its obligation to return fugitive slaves. The evils that secessionists pretended to fear were flimsy or imaginary.

Just then a thin, reedy voice demanded, “I merely wish to know whether the gentleman is speaking on the side of the North or the South?” The interruption came from Shelton Leake, a Virginia disunionist.

Etheridge shot back immediately: “I am speaking on a side that has few representatives on this floor. I am speaking on the side of my country!” A reporter for the Cincinnati Commercial described Etheridge’s retort as a “clincher”—“The noble, exalted tone and emphasis in which this was uttered, rang through the hall.” A resounding applause rang through the galleries.

The speech struck people outside the Capitol as well: a groundswell of support soon developed in the free states to find a position in Lincoln’s cabinet for Etheridge. His “unswerving patriotism” and his “sterling, practical qualities” stood out, said one such advocate. “No better Southern man could be found.”

Etheridge wasn’t alone. His address opened the floodgates to a torrent of Southern Unionist speeches in late January and early February. Few of his allies in Congress were quite so ready as he to give the Republican Party a clean bill of health, but they heartily agreed that secession was a virulent epidemic that would sicken or kill its host. It threatened to ignite a civil war that would destroy slavery. Rammed through with hot haste, it confronted the Upper South with an outrageous fait accompli. Just as delegates from the Deep South were meeting in Montgomery, Ala., to organize the Confederate government, Robert Hatton charged that disunionists were “practically our enemies, as truly as the most unprincipled fanatics of the North.”

Members of the Southern Opposition bloc pleaded with Republicans to take steps that might reassure nervous white Southerners. Most wanted to see the Crittenden Compromise approved, which promised to protect slavery in territories south of 36° 30´, including those “hereafter acquired.” Rep. John A. Gilmer of North Carolina reasoned that secessionists clamored for protection not because it was “really valuable to the South,” or injurious to the North, but rather in the hope that Republicans “will refuse it, and by your refusal, they hope the South will be inflamed to the extent of breaking up this Government.” The most stringent protection for slavery in the territories would be no more likely to create additional slave states, Gilmer insisted, than “the drying up of the Mississippi could be secured by act of Congress.”

But no Republican could countenance Kentucky Sen. John J. Crittenden’s insidious formula. To do so might open the door to a slave empire in the Caribbean and Central America — and much more immediately, they feared, it would tear apart the Republican party. Conciliatory Republicans instead offered to admit all existing territory south of 36° 30´ into the Union as the slave state of New Mexico, and to amend the Constitution to forbid interference with slavery in the states where it already existed. Abraham Lincoln passed word that he could live with these concessions — and so did some Southern Unionists. Forget about “hereafter acquired,” they suggested. Give us New Mexico and the constitutional amendment, and we can hold the Upper South.

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.Voters in the Upper South had their say in February 1861. In state after state, starting with Virginia on February 4, emphatic popular majorities opposed secession. This outcome resulted in part from a massive mailing of pro-Union speeches. Night after night, Hatton reported to his wife, he and other Southern Unionists in Congress stayed up late franking thousands of copies of their oratory for free postal delivery. When given the opportunity to do so, voters in North Carolina and Tennessee even opposed letting a state convention meet. But Unionist victories were conditional, based on the assumption that Republicans would offer concessions and, most of all, that the incoming administration would not use armed force against the Deep South.

When Lincoln took his oath of office on March 4, eight slave states, home to two-thirds of white Southerners, remained in the Union. An uneasy peace prevailed. Tennessee Congressman Horace Maynard beseeched Republicans to act cautiously. “Believe me,” he pleaded, “the moment you wage war, you array the entire South, as one man, in behalf of the portion that is attacked. It is as when a brother is assailed, all his brethren rush to his rescue, not stopping to inquire whether, in the contest, he be right or wrong.” Maynard exaggerated. His home region of East Tennessee would not follow the secessionist lead once the war started, and Maynard himself ended up an unconditional Unionist and a Republican. But Maynard, on balance, knew much about how the future would unfold.

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Rep. Robert Hatton, in Confederate Army uniformOf course, when push came to shove in the Upper South, and its citizens no longer could avoid the dread matter of choosing sides in a war, slavery did much to determine the outcome. Though Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia all seceded, regions with few slaves resisted. Although Emerson Etheridge owned 10 slaves, most of the voters in his district owned none. He stayed loyal to the Union and many of his constituents volunteered for the Union Army. But regions with more substantial slaveholdings — even Whig-Opposition enclaves that had stoutly resisted secession before mid-April — suddenly gave way and embraced the Confederacy.

On the other hand, Robert Hatton represented part of the fertile Cumberland Basin, where many families held slaves. Seventeen men, women and children were listed as his property on the slave schedule of the 1860 census. Notwithstanding Hatton’s pre-war Unionism, he volunteered to organize a regiment for the Confederate army and was promoted to command a brigade. On the last day of May 1862, at the battle of Seven Pines east of Richmond, Va., General Hatton was instantly killed by enemy fire while leading his troops across an open field.

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Sources: Cincinnati Commercial, Jan. 26 and Jan. 28, 1861; Congressional Globe, 36th Congress, Second Session; James Vaulx Drake, “Life of General Robert Hatton, Including His Most Important Public Speeches; Together, with Much of his Washington and Army Correspondence“; Daniel W. Crofts, “Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis.”

Title: Old Hickory's Ghost
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 27, 2011, 08:24:16 AM
Its POTH, so caveat lector.


Americans have always obsessed over their nation’s history, even when there wasn’t much to obsess over. The founding generation had barely passed on before politicians began scrambling to claim their legacy – and at no time was that more true than during the Secession Crisis. Secessionists claimed to be emulating the revolutionaries’ struggle for liberty against a tyrannical central government, while Northerners were determined not to let disloyal rebels tear down the noble republic the founders had created.

But the dynamics of secession also drew attention to a more recent historical event – the Nullification Crisis of 1833 – and brought back to the center of debate that most controversial of early Americans, Andrew Jackson. Conflicting interpretations of his legacy tell a lot about how the North and South – and Democrats and Republicans within the North – saw the crisis.

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A portrait of President Andrew Jackson, along with his famous quotation from the Nullification Crisis, “The Union must and shall be preserved.” CLICK TO ENLARGE.The tumult of the Jacksonian era was still fresh in America’s collective mind. He was the last president to serve two terms, and much had changed during his 13 years on the national political scene. When he first ran for president in 1824, there was only one national party, and Americans, taught by the founders to distrust parties as the tools of ambitious demagogues, relished the absence of partisan conflict. By the time Jackson left office in 1837, national politics was dominated by a thriving two-party system. The underlying reasons for this change were numerous, but the immediate catalyst was the impulsive, provocative Indian- and British-fighter from Tennessee.
To his supporters, “Old Hickory” was the quintessential Washington outsider: a tough, bold Westerner with patience for neither political maneuvering nor legalistic hairsplitting, a triumphant warrior who pursued corrupt politicians and elite bankers and industrialists with the same grim-faced resolve which had brought him victory over Indians, the Spanish and the British. To these “Democrats,” as his new party was called, Jackson was the champion of the common man, and they followed him into battle against powerful centralized government and the would-be aristocrats who sought to profit from it.

His enemies said Jackson was a loose cannon, a hot-tempered demagogue who shamelessly courted the masses with no thought to constitutional principles or the rule of law. They denounced him as an aspiring “King Andrew I” and styled themselves “Whigs” in emulation of the American Revolutionaries, who in their own fight for liberty had labeled themselves after the British opponents of absolute monarchy.

Muddying the Democratic purity of Jackson’s memory was the Nullification Crisis of 1832 and ‘33, in which the explosive executive displayed the unyielding decisiveness that his followers admired but also revealed the limits of his support for state rights. When the South Carolina legislature responded to a new protective tariff by “nullifying” it (that is, declaring it unconstitutional and therefore void), Jackson issued a blistering proclamation in which he condemned nullification as a treasonous attack on the Union. Privately vowing to lead an army into South Carolina himself and hang the nullifiers, he sent arms to local unionist military forces, reinforced the navy detachment at Charleston Harbor, made arrangements to collect import taxes at the harbor’s forts and requested that Congress give him whatever authority he needed to make South Carolina back down.

Jackson also worked behind the scenes for compromise (although in the end it was legislation negotiated by his rivals Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun that enabled South Carolina to stand down without losing face). Nevertheless, it was his resolute public stance for the Union that frustrated, resentful Northerners seized upon during the Secession Crisis. Ironically, Republicans, most of them former Whigs, were vociferous in their call for a strong Jacksonian response to secession, while most Northern Democrats – citing Jacksonian ideals of respect for local government and condemnation of antislavery agitation – called for compromise.

Northerners likewise summoned Jackson’s memory as a standard which their own president was failing miserably to meet. In the wake of Major Robert Anderson’s daring transfer to Fort Sumter, James Buchanan’s comparative impotence led Northerners to moan, “Oh, for an hour of Old Hickory!”

On Jan. 8, the anniversary of Jackson’s triumph at New Orleans, state and local leaders across the North ordered commemorations – a common practice, but one that took on thick political overtones in this climate. In Massachusetts the newly inaugurated governor, John Andrew, ordered 100 guns fired on Boston Common to honor both the Battle of New Orleans and Major Anderson. In Chicago, Mayor John Wentworth ordered business suspended so that people might gather to express their devotion to the Union, with cannons firing and bells tolling throughout the day. In Auburn, N.Y., home of procompromise leader William H. Seward, a hundred guns were fired “in honor of the memory of General Jackson as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, and as the defender of the Union against nullification and treason.”

Even Jackson’s bitterest opponents rallied around him. In the 1820s and ’30s, General Winfield Scott had wrangled with Jackson both professionally and politically, their feud at one point nearly resulting in a duel. But in mid-December, with South Carolina’s secession looming, Scott pointedly reminded Buchanan of Jackson’s vigorous actions in 1833, emphasizing Jackson’s view that he was merely defending the government, “but that if So. Carolina attacked [federal officials] it would be So. C. that made war upon the U. States.”

Scott was far from alone: Despite the large number of former Whigs among their ranks, it was Republicans especially who embraced Jackson’s legacy. Party newspapers reprinted the Nullification Proclamation, praising its forceful response to South Carolina’s treason. Over and again editors, speakers and correspondents urged their leaders to take “a firm Jackson stand” against secession and hoped that Lincoln would be “another Jackson.”

The president-elect himself was closely examining Jackson’s record. In the 1830s, echoing the warnings of arch-Whig Henry Clay that a “military chieftain” like Jackson had no place in a republic, the young Lincoln had warned against the rise of “an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon.” But in composing his strategy against secession, Lincoln turned to the Old Hero’s Nullification Proclamation. Its ideas would be prominent in his Inaugural Address in March, including its claim that the Union predated the states, its insistence that no nation has within its fundamental law a provision for its own destruction, its emphasis on the obligations imposed by the president’s oath of office, and its declaration that any use of federal force would represent not aggression but self-defense.

Democrats, who blamed Republicans for the crisis and urged compromise with the South, struggled to maintain a claim on their party’s founding father. Democratic newspapers pointed out that not only Jackson but Whig idol Henry Clay had sought to defuse the situation through concessions, and they tried to align Republicans, with their state-level resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law, with South Carolina’s 1833 stand. “If nullification be odious in South Carolina,” demanded the Daily Ohio Statesman, “is it not equally so in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio?”

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.The entire debate bore little, of course, on the actual question of the Secession Crisis. Few Northerners considered how closely the new crisis actually paralleled the earlier one. Indeed, there were a number of fundamental differences between the two, prominent among them three decades of mounting sectional tension, which had made Southern defensiveness stronger and more widespread while desensitizing Northerners to disunion threats.

But the most important difference stemmed from the strategy of Southern radicals. The chief reason South Carolina nullifiers backed down in 1833 was their realization that none of the other slave states supported them. But they also saw how Jackson’s forcefulness frightened and alienated those same moderate Southerners. In 1860 the radicals did not wait for cooperation among the slave states; rather, South Carolina’s secession was calculated to generate momentum that would either carry the rest of the South out of the Union along with it or pressure the federal government to carry through on the forceful response that Jackson had only threatened, thereby winning over the less-committed slave states.

It succeeded brilliantly in doing both. Over the next six weeks, despite varying levels of secession feeling, every other cotton state followed the Palmetto State’s example. And when the tidal wave of disunion broke against Unionist majorities in the Upper South, the mere existence of the seven-state Deep South Confederacy would impel Lincoln’s April decision to reinforce Fort Sumter, sparking open conflict. Once he called on the remaining states to help suppress the Deep South’s rebellion, four more slave states, including all-important Virginia, seceded and joined the new Confederacy.

In other words, it was neither Republicans nor Northern Democrats who had learned the most important lessons of Andrew Jackson and the Nullification Crisis: that honor belonged to the fire-eating radicals who controlled his erstwhile opponent, the South Carolina state government.

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Russell McClintock, a history teacher at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Mass., is the author of “Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession.” He is writing a biography of Stephen A. Douglas.

Title: Commentary: Tea Party: Looking into the past in order to understand the present
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 13, 2011, 01:24:18 PM
Looking into the past in order to understand the present.....
(link at the bottom)


How to Think About the Tea Party « Commentary Magazine

Paul A. Rahe is a professor of history at Hillsdale College and the author, most recently, of Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty and Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift."

On February 19, 2009, when the finance commentator Rick Santelli indulged in a rant against the newly unveiled "stimulus" bill on the CNBC cable network and called for a demonstration in Chicago modeled on the Boston Tea Party, he fired a shot heard round the country. Santelli's diatribe was focused on the fact that Americans who had played by the rules, had saved much of what they had earned, and had paid their bills on time were being required to bail out fellow citizens who had gotten caught short in purchasing a domicile they could not afford or while speculating in real estate. In the weeks that followed, ordinary citizens spontaneously gathered in towns and cities across the continent to organize Tea Parties in protest against what they took to be an unjust redistribution of wealth from the industrious and the rational to the greedy and improvident. The mainstream media treated them with contempt, and most Republicans kept their distance. Leading Democrats denounced them as frauds and ignoramuses and sought to brand them as racists. Even when the president of the United States used the obscene epithet "teabaggers" to refer to them, however, the adherents of what was coming to be a full-fledged movement—the Tea Party movement—stood firm. And in the course of the summer of 2009, as Americans began to grow fearful of the scope and intrusiveness of the Obama administration's health-care proposal, that movement's numbers grew. In August 2009, when congressmen and senators held town halls to discuss the proposed bill, ordinary Americans showed up in droves; and, to the evident dismay of their representatives, they bluntly spoke their minds.

By January 2010, when the unknown Republican Scott Brown defeated the well-known Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts race for the seat in the Senate once occupied by Ted Kennedy, it was clear that the Tea Party movement was destined to become a powerful force not only within the Republican Party but in the country as a whole, and patronage-minded Republican senators and congressmen who hoped to be re-elected in 2010 began to get with the program. Republican candidates who were not quick to do so soon came under fire. A three-term senator from Utah who failed to take note was denied his party's nomination for re-election at the state's Republican convention. A senator from Alaska, the scion of an entrenched political dynasty and a member of the Republican leadership, suffered the same fate in her party primary. In Delaware, a popular nine-term congressman who had served two terms as governor lost his party's senatorial primary to an insurgent who had never held political office. In Kentucky, the same fate met its secretary of state. In Florida, a former state senator came from nowhere (the first poll had him at three percent) to force a popular sitting governor to abandon his quest for the Republican senatorial nomination. And in the Republican senatorial primaries in Colorado and Nevada, Tea Party–backed insurgents defeated a lieutenant governor and a former party chairman.

It is perfectly understandable that Republican regulars thwarted in the primaries, Democrats defeated in the midterm elections, and adherents of both parties who found themselves suddenly deprived of political influence should find these developments disconcerting. It is equally understandable that those who find unpalatable either the Tea Party's approach or some of the more colorful and/or questionable candidates to emerge victorious as a consequence of its rise might consider this leaderless and inchoate force's impact worrisome or even frightening. In point of fact, however, this sort of upheaval is nothing new. Such forces have risen periodically throughout the history of the United States and have their antecedents in 17th- and 18th-century England.


In his 1748 Spirit of Laws, the great political philosopher Montesquieu attributed the recurring turmoil that had long beset England to the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. The Tudors for the most part had been able to sidestep the problem in the 16th century because Henry VIII and his children had sufficient wealth in the lands he had seized from the Catholic Church to cover most of their needs. But their Stuart successors in the 17th century found that those resources had been largely exhausted; and to cover their expenses and those of the government they directed, they were compelled to have frequent recourse to Parliament for revenue.

To their dismay and that of their ministers, what soon came to be called "the Country" rose up in high dudgeon time and time again to denounce on the floor of the House of Commons what was perceived as favoritism, corruption, arbitrary rule, conspiracy, and papist predilections on the part of a Court thought to be intent on encroaching on the rights of ordinary Englishmen and the prerogatives possessed by Parliament. These tensions produced the English civil war of the 1640s, the execution of Charles I in 1648, the rule of the Rump Parliament and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell in the 1640s and 1650s, followed by the Restoration of the monarchy in 1658, which was in turn followed 30 years later by the Glorious Revolution.

By the time Montesquieu arrived in England, things had settled down. The political tensions that had periodically given rise to turbulence and bloodshed were now being resolved peacefully through electioneering and balloting, and monarchs now found themselves forced to appoint as ministers those who had the confidence of Parliament and were not simply tools of the Crown.

Montesquieu found the dynamics of English politics both instructive and amusing. "The hatred" that had long existed between Court and Country he regarded as a permanent feature. This hatred "would endure," he observed, "because it would always be powerless," and it would be powerless because "the parties" inspired by the separation of powers would be "composed of free men" who would be inclined to switch sides if either the executive power or the legislative power appeared to have "secured too much."

The English were a commercial people who lived in what Montesquieu called "a republic concealed under the form of a monarchy." The regime under which they were reared, being neither republican in the classical sense nor genuinely monarchical, did little to inculcate in them a spirit of self-sacrifice and even less to inspire in them a love of honor and glory. Instead, it left Englishmen to their own devices; and in the absence of direction from above, they tended to succumb to the restlessness and anxiety that Montesquieu called inquiétude. In such a nation, he remarked, the charges lodged by the party that stood in opposition to the executive branch "would augment even more" than usual "the terrors" to which a people so disposed were naturally prone, for they "would never know really whether they were in danger or not."

Ordinarily the legislature, which enjoyed the confidence of the people, would be in a position to moderate their fears. "In this fashion," Montesquieu noted, when "the terrors impressed" on the populace lacked "a certain object, they would produce nothing but vain clamors & name-calling; & they would have this good effect: that they would stretch all the springs of government & render the citizens attentive."

And if the terrors fanned by the party opposed to the English executive were ever "to appear on the occasion of an overturning of the fundamental laws," he observed, "they would be muted, lethal, excruciating & produce catastrophes: before long, one would see a frightful calm, during which the whole would unite itself against the power violating the laws."

Moreover, he added, if such "disputes took shape on the occasion of a violation of the fundamental laws, & if a foreign power appeared," as happened when the arrival of the Dutch political and military leader William of Orange in 1688 triggered the Glorious Revolution, "there would be a revolution, which would change neither the form of the government nor its constitution: for the revolutions to which liberty gives shape are nothing but a confirmation of liberty."

Over the past generation, historians have tended to interpret the American Revolution similarly as a clash between Court and Country. The pattern described by Montesquieu was duplicated in colonies such as Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York in the 17th and 18th centuries. Moreover, the charges leveled against King and Parliament by the American colonists in the period stretching from 1762 to 1776 were a compendium of those lodged long before by the critics of James I and Charles I; the opponents of the Long Parliament, the Rump Parliament, and Oliver Cromwell; the proponents of the Glorious Revolution; and those who subsequently became disgruntled under the rule of William of Orange following his installation as William III and those who followed him over the next century culminating in the reign of George III.

The same pattern manifested itself also in the political disputes that followed the founding of the United States. To be sure, when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison organized the first American political party, they did not accuse Alexander Hamilton and those who came to be called the Federalists of papist predilections. But they did assert that the economic program proposed by Hamilton in his capacity as George Washington's secretary of the treasury amounted to a conspiracy to overthrow republicanism in America and consolidate power in the hands of an irresponsible executive indistinguishable from a monarch. That is why Jefferson spoke of the election of 1800 and his own ascendancy to the presidency as a second American revolution.

Similar rhetoric was deployed by the movement that sprang up against the so-called "Tariff of Abominations" shortly after its passage in 1828. Andrew Jackson articulated much the same argument in the battle he undertook in his second presidential term (1832-36) against Nicholas Biddle's proposal for a rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States, and so did Abraham Lincoln and his fellow Republicans in their quest in the late 1850s against what they called "the slave-power conspiracy."

One could hear echoes of these earlier controversies in the campaign mounted against the railroads and banks by the People's Party in 1892 (the force widely considered the originator of what has come to be called "populism"), in the presidential campaign undertaken by the insurgent Democrat William Jennings Bryan in 1896 against the tight-money fiscal policies that he said were crucifying America on a "cross of gold," and in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's assertion at the Democratic Convention in 1936 that "a small group" of economic royalists was intent on concentrating "into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor—other people's lives." And, of course, it is a similar suspicion that has given rise to the Tea Party movement.

Consider what Barack Obama and the Democrats did over the past two years—with their so-called stimulus, health-care reform, and reform of financial regulation. Each initiative involved the passage of a bill more than a thousand pages in length that virtually no one voting on could have read, and no one but those who framed it could have understood. Each involved a massive expansion of the federal government and massive payoffs to favored constituencies. And each was part of a much larger project openly pursued by self-styled progressives in the course of the last century and aimed at concentrating in the hands of "a small group" of putative experts "an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor—other people's lives." Without quite knowing whom they are evoking, Tea Partiers are inclined to say, as FDR said in 1936, that if they do not put a stop to what is going on, "for too many of us life" will be "no longer free" and "liberty no longer real"—for otherwise the bureaucratic busybodies ensconced in Washington will deprive us of the means by which to "follow the pursuit of happiness" as we see fit.

The only difference is that FDR's assertions demonizing the "economic royalists" were demonstrably false, and when the Tea Partiers make comparable claims today, they are, alas, telling the truth.

Title: Commentary: Tea Party: 2
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 13, 2011, 01:26:02 PM
American liberty is more fragile than we are inclined to suppose. The Framers of the Constitution were well aware that the republics of ancient Greece and those of medieval and early modern Italy were situated on diminutive territories. They knew that Rome's expansion had eventuated in Rome's loss of liberty, and they understood why Montesquieu had initially argued that a republic could not be sustained on an extended territory. A government set at a considerable distance from the people over whom it rules is apt to become a despotism, for it is out of sight and out of mind, beyond reach and beyond control. This the Framers understood. They took heart, however, from the French philosopher's suggestion that a federation of small republics could overcome this geographical imperative. They were reassured by his tacit acknowledgement that, by way of the separation of powers, the "republic concealed under the form of a monarchy" that had emerged in Great Britain had overcome this imperative as well. And they themselves observed that the religious and economic diversity that had followed from America's territorial extension were successfully subverting the force of faction.

In the early 1790s, however, when James Madison began thinking about the political consequences inherent in the ambitious program of economic development charted by Alexander Hamilton, he had occasion to reconsider Montesquieu's warning. He believed that "a consolidation of the States into one government" was implicit in Hamilton's assertion of federal prerogatives. And he feared that such a consolidation would neutralize the expedients suggested by Montesquieu and instituted by the Framers and leave "the whole government to that self directed course, which, it must be owned, is the natural propensity of every government."

First, Madison thought, the separation of powers could give way to centralized administration of the sort that typified despotism. If federalism were subverted in this way and the national government by one means or another took over the prerogatives of the states and the localities, the legislature situated in the new nation's capital would quickly prove to be incompetent "to regulate all the various objects belonging to the local governments," and this "would evidently force a transfer of many of" those objects "to the executive department."

Second, Madison contended, because the state and local governments are close to the people—in sight and in mind, within reach and control—they and not the federal government are the natural instruments of civic agency. If, however, they were made to be dependent on and subject to the national government, they would cease to serve this function, and the sheer size of the country would stand in the way of concerted popular political action. It would prevent the exercise of "that control" on the national legislature "which is essential to a faithful discharge of its trust, [since] neither the voice nor the sense of ten or twenty millions of people, spread through so many latitudes as are comprehended within the United States, could ever be combined or called into effect, if deprived of those local organs, through which both can now be conveyed." In such circumstances, Madison warned prophetically, "the impossibility of acting together, might be succeeded by the inefficacy of partial expressions of the public mind, and this at length, by a universal silence and insensibility." It was the absence of effective popular checks that would leave the national government to a "self directed course."

Madison, Jefferson, and their heirs in the Jacksonian period were arguably wrong about the political consequences implicit in the program proposed by Hamilton in the 1790s and revived by Henry Clay in the late 1820s. Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans implemented a policy indistinguishable from Hamilton's program and Clay's American System, and that policy did not have the consequences that Madison, his associates, and their heirs feared. But the prospect that Madison imagined is, in fact, the prospect the world's most venerable democratic republic now faces.

Over almost a century, under the influence of the Progressives and their heirs—the proponents of the New Deal, the Great Society, and Barack Obama's New Foundation we have experienced a gradual consolidation of power in the federal government. Legislative responsibilities have been transferred to administrative agencies lodged within the executive—such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and the vast array of bodies established under the recent health-care reform—and these have been delegated in an ever increasing number of spheres the authority to issue rules and regulations that have the force of law.

In the process, the state and local governments have become dependent on federal largesse, which always comes with strings attached in the form of funded or unfunded "mandates" designed to make these governments fall in line with federal policy. Civic agency, rooted as it normally is in locality, has withered as the localities have lost their leverage. The civic associations so admired by Alexis de Tocqueville have for the most part become lobbying operations with offices in Washington focused on influencing federal policy, and many of them have also become recipients of government grants and reliable instruments for the implementation of federal policy.

The Tea Party movement is, however, testimony to the fact that all is not lost. When confronted in a brazen fashion with the tyrannical impulse underpinning the administrative state, ordinary Americans from all walks of life are still capable of fighting back. It is easy enough to mock. Like all spontaneous popular movements, the Tea Party has attracted its fair share of cranks: it would have been a miracle if it had not attracted those who are obsessed with the question of Barack Obama's birth certificate or the heavy-handed and ineffective procedures adopted by the Transportation Security Agency.


But it should be reassuring rather than frightening to the American elite that at the dawn of the third millennium, Americans know to become nervous and watchful when a presidential candidate who has presented himself to the public as a moderate devotee of bipartisanship intent on eliminating waste in federal programs suddenly endorses "spreading the wealth around" and on the eve of his election speaks of "fundamentally transforming America." It should be of comfort to them that a small-business owner in Nebraska believes he has reason to express public qualms when a prospective White House chief of staff, in the midst of an economic downturn, announces that the new administration is not about to "let a serious crisis go to waste" and that it intends to exploit that crisis as "an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before." And it should be a source of pride to elites that the philosophical superstructure of the United States demonstrated extraordinary durability when a significant number of their fellow citizens refused to sit silent after an administration implied the inadequacy of the founding by promoting itself as the New Foundation, and after the head of government specifically questioned the special place of the United States in the world by denying "American exceptionalism."

Most important, it should be humbling to those elites that ordinary American citizens choose spontaneously to enter the political arena in droves, concert opposition, speak up in a forthright manner, and oust a host of entrenched office holders when they learn that a system of punitive taxation is in the offing, when they are repeatedly told what they know to be false—that, under the new health-care system that the administration is intent on establishing, benefits will be extended and costs reduced and no one will lose the coverage he already has—and when they discover that Medicare is to be gutted, that medical care is to be rationed, and that citizens who have no desire to purchase health insurance are going to be forced to do so.

In 1776, when George Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, he included a provision reflecting what the revolutionaries had learned from the long period of struggle between Court and Country in England and in America: "that no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles." What we are witnessing with the Tea Party movement is one of the periodic recurrences to fundamental principles that typify and revivify the American experiment in self-government.

These developments are never exclusively salutary. The people sometimes err, as Montesquieu understood and as, I believe, has happened with considerable frequency in our nation's past. But as Thomas Jefferson observed in the wake of the rebellion mounted by Daniel Shays in 1786, if the "turbulence" to which popular government is "subject" is regrettable, "even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs." In Europe, Jefferson explained, "under the pretence of government, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep." He feared that the same would in time happen in America. If the people in the United States should ever "become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I," he wrote to one correspondent, "and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves."From the outset, Jefferson feared that in this country the government would eventually find its way to what his friend James Madison would later call a "self directed course." It was with this unwelcome prospect in mind that he asked, "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve their spirit of resistance?" In the end, then, one does not have to agree with the Tea Party movement in every particular to welcome its appearance.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Freki on February 15, 2011, 06:10:32 AM
Very nice piece, it fleshed out my understanding.  Thank you  I had always heard of tory or whig but had not put it into country and court categories.
Title: Napolitano
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 21, 2011, 08:25:05 AM
Is Napolitano correct that the C. was formed by the States?  Or was it formed by the American people?  Is the claim that slavery in The South was susceptible to withering away as it did elsewhere correct?  Was succession triggered by the entry of non-slave states into the Union, thus leading slave states to demand more slave states?  What of the federalism principles in light of the Dred Scott decision's imposition of requiring northern states to enforce southern slave claims within their (northern) territories?

Maybe BigDog will weigh in here , , ,
Judge Napolitano on Lincoln
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The recent discussions in the media about Ron Paul's comments regarding Lincoln and his political legacy got me to thinking, wouldn't it be great if Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, would weigh in on the subject. I had this thought because Judge Napolitano included a chapter entitled "Dishonest Abe" in his brilliant book, The Constitution in Exile. Judge Napolitano is a very busy man, hosting a radio show as well as appearing on television, making speeches all around the country, writing books, and practicing law — in addition to (hopefully) having a private family life. Since I am a big fan of his writing I thought I would try to pique our readers' interest in what the judge has to say on this subject.
The first two sentences of the "Dishonest Abe" chapter of The Constitution in Exile are hard hitting: "The Abraham Lincoln of legend is an honest man who freed the slaves and saved the Union. Few things could be more misleading." He then goes on to say exactly what Ron Paul told the Washington Post, and which seemed to mystify and confuse Tim Russert in his "Meet the Press" interview with Congressman Paul: "In order to increase his federalist vision of centralized power, ‘Honest' Abe misled the nation into an unnecessary war. He claimed that the war was about emancipating slaves, but he could have simply paid slave owners to free their slaves . . . . The bloodiest war in American history could have been avoided." And, as Ron Paul would likely add, all the other countries of the world that ended slavery in the nineteenth century, including Britain, Spain, France, Denmark, the Dutch, did so without a war. This, by the way, included the Northern states in the U.S. There were no "civil wars" to free the slaves in Massachusetts, New York (where slavery existed for over 200 years), or Illinois.
Lincoln's "actions were unconstitutional and he knew it," writes Napolitano, for "the rights of the states to secede from the Union . . . [are] clearly implicit in the Constitution, since it was the states that ratified the Constitution . . ." Lincoln's view "was a far departure from the approach of Thomas Jefferson, who recognized states' rights above those of the Union." Judge Napolitano also reminds his readers that the issue of using force to keep a state in the union was in fact debated — and rejected — at the Constitutional Convention as part of the "Virginia Plan."
He also discusses Lincoln's Confiscation Act of 1862, under which "any slaves behind the Union lines were captives of war who were to be freed and transported to countries in the tropics. This was in keeping with Dishonest Abe's lifelong position (his "White Dream," according to Ebony magazine managing editor Lerone Bennett, Jr, author of Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream) of deporting all blacks from the U.S. "Colonization" was the euphemism that was used for this.
"The Confiscation Acts," writes Judge Napolitano, "show that Lincoln did not have much concern for the slaves. He did not suggest to Congress that freed slaves should be granted civil rights or citizenship in Northern states. Once the freed slaves were transported out of the United States, they would no longer be Lincoln's problem." This is also why Lincoln tinkered with proposals for compensated emancipation in the border states while they were under U.S. military occupation during the war. These proposals included immediate deportation of any freed slaves. He saw the occupation of the border states during the war as an opportunity to begin ridding the country of "The Africans," as he referred to black people, as though they were from another planet. Judge Napolitano quotes Lincoln in one of his debates with Stephen Douglas as saying what he repeatedly said throughout his adult life: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes." "Lincoln was more concerned about the failure of [the seceding] states to collect tariffs than he was about slavery, " says Napolitano.
Unlike all those hopelessly miseducated neocon pundits who sneered at Ron Paul's statements regarding how Lincoln did tremendous damage to the principles of the American founders, Judge Napolitano is well schooled in constitutional history. He writes of Lincoln's complete trashing of the Constitution by "murdering civilians, declaring martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing . . . private property without compensation (including railroads and telegraphs), conducting a war without the consent of Congress, imprisoning nearly thirty thousand Northern citizens without trial, shutting down . . . newspapers, and even deporting a congressman (Clement L. Vallandigham from Ohio) because he objected to the imposition of an income tax."
"Saying that Lincoln abolished slavery and calling him the ‘Great Emancipator' are grossly inadequate mischaracterizations," writes the judge. "Lincoln was interested in promoting his political agenda of centralizing government power, and freeing the slaves was only a means of advancement of that end."
Lincoln destroyed the union of the founding fathers. He "replaced a voluntary association of states with a strong centralized government. The president and his party eagerly lifted the floodgates to the modern thuggish style of ruling that the U.S. government now employs" (emphasis added). This "opened the door to more unconstitutional acts by the government in the 1900s through to today."
The next time you see Lincoln's portrait on a five-dollar bill, the judge concludes, "remember how many civil liberties he took away from you."
Title: Re: American History
Post by: G M on February 21, 2011, 08:28:04 AM
So, owning a slave was a civil liberty?
Title: Washington's slaves
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 21, 2011, 08:52:27 AM
Now, there is a pithy rejoinder!  :lol:

Anyway, posting this piece from POTH/NY Times, but the main subject presented on this thread at the moment should remain the Napolitano piece:
MOUNT VERNON, George Washington’s bucolic estate in Northern Virginia, has been an American shrine since his death in 1799. But after the Civil War, when its historic restoration began, the image of the first president began to be outshone by that of the 16th, Abraham Lincoln.

True, Washington’s portrait still adorned classrooms from Maine to Mississippi, and his birthday remained an unofficial national holiday. But Washington seemed “formal, statue-like, a figure for exhibition,” wrote Representative Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, the future president, who visited Mount Vernon in 1866.

Lincoln, on the other hand, appeared more human, a man who had paid with his life to reunify the country and free millions of slaves. “Lincoln is overshadowing Washington,” Hayes declared.

Today, of course, Washington is again at the center of the presidential pantheon. For that he can thank an unlikely group of allies: former slaves who worked at Mount Vernon in the late 19th century and who helped shape our modern beliefs about him — but only by hiding his complicated views on slavery behind the illusion of an Old South plantation.

Everything about the restored Mount Vernon was designed to render Washington a noble but approachable figure. Visitors could wander through his dining room and peer into the second-story bedchamber where he died. Another floor up, they saw the room where Martha Washington supposedly spent the rest of her life after his death, gazing out the window at her beloved husband’s gravesite.

The estate was governed by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union, but much of the daily work was performed by African-Americans who had been owned by Washington’s descendants. They guarded the premises, sold souvenirs and refreshments and spoke with visitors about bygone days.

Gray-haired Edmund Parker, who had been brought to Mount Vernon as a teenage slave in 1841, stood at the tomb, recounting Washington’s last days and the history of his final resting place. At the old kitchen, Parker’s niece Sarah Johnson sold glasses of milk.

Parker, Johnson and others fostered an image of Mount Vernon as an antebellum Eden, complete with happy, welcoming slaves, an impression that sat well with post-Reconstruction America, where civil rights had taken a back seat to sectional reconciliation.

Living links to the past, they held forth with visitors on a range of subjects — but not the painful realities of slavery. Parker never mentioned the grueling field labor he had once performed, or that he had run away to Union lines during the Civil War. Sarah Johnson didn’t explain that Washington’s heirs had sold her and her 6-month-old child in the first year of the war.

And they did not disclose that their ancestors had not belonged to Washington at all; rather, they had come to Mount Vernon after the president died, brought by Washington’s nephew and great-nephews, who had inherited the place. When asked about their origins, the former slaves would simply reply, “Belonged to the family.”

These and other omissions helped paper over Washington’s views on slavery, including his hope that the institution would one day disappear. Black employees sold copies of his last will and testament, but they never mentioned that Washington had used that will to free his own slaves.

However, if Parker and Johnson played down Washington’s anti-slavery legacy for white visitors, they honored it privately by building new, financially secure lives for themselves. When Hayes returned as president for an overnight stay in 1878, Johnson served him a simple meal in Washington’s small dining room. Earlier that day, she and her husband had managed the estate’s crowded lunchroom, coordinating a team of waiters and collecting money.

A few miles off the historic grounds, the black employees of Mount Vernon sent their children to public school, attended a new church and shopped for staples in town. And they saved their earnings to purchase land of their own: when Johnson left Mount Vernon in 1892, she owned four acres just up the road.

Washington probably would have appreciated the sight of freed slaves pursuing their own goals on his estate. As an innovative farmer and astute observer of human nature, he had no wish to make Mount Vernon a shrine to a bygone past. He might instead have challenged white tourists to question why, in an era of supposed racial equality, its black employees felt the need to mask their life stories and aspirations behind a veil of old-style servitude.

The new Mount Vernon humanized Washington, but only by eclipsing the true meaning of him and his home for a changing nation: not a refuge from modernity but an incubator of it.

Scott Casper, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Reno, is the author of “Sarah Johnson’s Mount Vernon: The Forgotten History of an American Shrine.”

Title: Re: Napolitano
Post by: bigdog on February 21, 2011, 11:17:33 AM
Is Napolitano correct that the C. was formed by the States?  Or was it formed by the American people?  Is the claim that slavery in The South was susceptible to withering away as it did elsewhere correct?  Was succession triggered by the entry of non-slave states into the Union, thus leading slave states to demand more slave states?  What of the federalism principles in light of the Dred Scott decision's imposition of requiring northern states to enforce southern slave claims within their (northern) territories?

Maybe BigDog will weigh in here , , ,
Judge Napolitano on Lincoln
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The recent discussions in the media about Ron Paul's comments regarding Lincoln and his political legacy got me to thinking, wouldn't it be great if Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, would weigh in on the subject. I had this thought because Judge Napolitano included a chapter entitled "Dishonest Abe" in his brilliant book, The Constitution in Exile. Judge Napolitano is a very busy man, hosting a radio show as well as appearing on television, making speeches all around the country, writing books, and practicing law — in addition to (hopefully) having a private family life. Since I am a big fan of his writing I thought I would try to pique our readers' interest in what the judge has to say on this subject.
The first two sentences of the "Dishonest Abe" chapter of The Constitution in Exile are hard hitting: "The Abraham Lincoln of legend is an honest man who freed the slaves and saved the Union. Few things could be more misleading." He then goes on to say exactly what Ron Paul told the Washington Post, and which seemed to mystify and confuse Tim Russert in his "Meet the Press" interview with Congressman Paul: "In order to increase his federalist vision of centralized power, ‘Honest' Abe misled the nation into an unnecessary war. He claimed that the war was about emancipating slaves, but he could have simply paid slave owners to free their slaves . . . . The bloodiest war in American history could have been avoided." And, as Ron Paul would likely add, all the other countries of the world that ended slavery in the nineteenth century, including Britain, Spain, France, Denmark, the Dutch, did so without a war. This, by the way, included the Northern states in the U.S. There were no "civil wars" to free the slaves in Massachusetts, New York (where slavery existed for over 200 years), or Illinois.
Lincoln's "actions were unconstitutional and he knew it," writes Napolitano, for "the rights of the states to secede from the Union . . . [are] clearly implicit in the Constitution, since it was the states that ratified the Constitution . . ." Lincoln's view "was a far departure from the approach of Thomas Jefferson, who recognized states' rights above those of the Union." Judge Napolitano also reminds his readers that the issue of using force to keep a state in the union was in fact debated — and rejected — at the Constitutional Convention as part of the "Virginia Plan."
He also discusses Lincoln's Confiscation Act of 1862, under which "any slaves behind the Union lines were captives of war who were to be freed and transported to countries in the tropics. This was in keeping with Dishonest Abe's lifelong position (his "White Dream," according to Ebony magazine managing editor Lerone Bennett, Jr, author of Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream) of deporting all blacks from the U.S. "Colonization" was the euphemism that was used for this.
"The Confiscation Acts," writes Judge Napolitano, "show that Lincoln did not have much concern for the slaves. He did not suggest to Congress that freed slaves should be granted civil rights or citizenship in Northern states. Once the freed slaves were transported out of the United States, they would no longer be Lincoln's problem." This is also why Lincoln tinkered with proposals for compensated emancipation in the border states while they were under U.S. military occupation during the war. These proposals included immediate deportation of any freed slaves. He saw the occupation of the border states during the war as an opportunity to begin ridding the country of "The Africans," as he referred to black people, as though they were from another planet. Judge Napolitano quotes Lincoln in one of his debates with Stephen Douglas as saying what he repeatedly said throughout his adult life: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes." "Lincoln was more concerned about the failure of [the seceding] states to collect tariffs than he was about slavery, " says Napolitano.
Unlike all those hopelessly miseducated neocon pundits who sneered at Ron Paul's statements regarding how Lincoln did tremendous damage to the principles of the American founders, Judge Napolitano is well schooled in constitutional history. He writes of Lincoln's complete trashing of the Constitution by "murdering civilians, declaring martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing . . . private property without compensation (including railroads and telegraphs), conducting a war without the consent of Congress, imprisoning nearly thirty thousand Northern citizens without trial, shutting down . . . newspapers, and even deporting a congressman (Clement L. Vallandigham from Ohio) because he objected to the imposition of an income tax."
"Saying that Lincoln abolished slavery and calling him the ‘Great Emancipator' are grossly inadequate mischaracterizations," writes the judge. "Lincoln was interested in promoting his political agenda of centralizing government power, and freeing the slaves was only a means of advancement of that end."
Lincoln destroyed the union of the founding fathers. He "replaced a voluntary association of states with a strong centralized government. The president and his party eagerly lifted the floodgates to the modern thuggish style of ruling that the U.S. government now employs" (emphasis added). This "opened the door to more unconstitutional acts by the government in the 1900s through to today."
The next time you see Lincoln's portrait on a five-dollar bill, the judge concludes, "remember how many civil liberties he took away from you."

The first half is largely nonsensical.  Some sticking points: 1, South Carolina secceeded before Lincoln was sworn into the presidency, effectively limiting the possibility that President Lincoln could have freed the slaves by paying the owners.  2, Lincoln could not have paid the owners to free the slaves.  Congress is responsible for outlays, and the idea that the president would take a unilateral action of the type described here did not really occur until several decades later, even with the powers Lincoln used during the CW.  3, the states did not ratify the Constitution.  The people of the states did.

That said, much of the discussion is right on point.  Lincoln did, at the very least, wage a war of questionable constitutionality.  Judge Napolitano is right in saying that the actions of Lincoln did lay some groundwork for future presidential actions and national centralization.  This is not to say, as GM points out, that the holding of slaves was right, with or without the permission of the Constitution.   In the end, was the freeing of slaves, whether intentional or otherwaise, worth the cost of the war?  I think many, myself included, would say yes.  In much the same way, I would argue that WWII was worth the fight no matter what the consequences of, for example, the United Nations (even if you disagree with the organization its roles globally).   
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 21, 2011, 02:18:19 PM
Thank you BD.

May I ask you please to expand upon the basis for thinking Lincoln's waging of the war unconstitutional?
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on February 21, 2011, 03:22:52 PM
Thank you BD.

May I ask you please to expand upon the basis for thinking Lincoln's waging of the war unconstitutional?

Yes sir.

1.  President Lincoln did, in fact, wage a war without congressional approval for months.  Congress was in recess, back when that meant something, and despite the presidential power to recall it to Washington (U.S. Constitution Art II, section 3), he did not.  That said, the majority opinion in the USSC's The Prize Cases, penned by Justice Grier, makes a very fine statement (one which was used by the Bush (II) adminstration to defend its powers in the war on terror, with the caveat that civil war not present): "As a civil war is never publicly proclaimed... against insurgents, its actual existence is a fact in out domestic history which the Court is bound to notice and to know."  However, note that Congress is given the power to suppress insurrection (Art. I, section 8, clause 15).

2.  Lincoln did suspend the right of habeus corpus, which is allowable in a time of "rebellion or invasion."  However, as that power is present in Article I, section 9, the intention was that only Congress could suspend this right.  The power of the president to suspend habeus corpus was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Milligan (1866). 

Is this discussion the type of thing you desired, Guro? 
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 21, 2011, 09:49:39 PM
Very much so.  An imperfect student in these things that I value so highly, I am grateful for your extensive knowledge and perspective in these matters and your integrity in how you present the various POVs.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on February 22, 2011, 02:43:05 AM
Very much so.  An imperfect student in these things that I value so highly, I am grateful for your extensive knowledge and perspective in these matters and your integrity in how you present the various POVs.

Thank you, sir. 
Title: US/UK relations since the Iron Curtain Speech
Post by: bigdog on March 04, 2011, 06:14:26 PM

Sixty-five years ago, Winston Churchill gave a landmark speech here in Missouri about the Iron Curtain that had descended in Europe, and the long history and future of the strategic partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. His speech at Westminster College in Fulton focused on an alliance that delivered jobs, security and economic growth - the very same issues that tie together our two nations today.

I'm coming to Missouri to mark the anniversary of Churchill's address on March 5, 1946, and to visit businesses and universities with strong links to Britain. Throughout my time here, I'll be making a modern version of the case Churchill made on the lasting importance of the U.K.-U.S. relationship.

Title: Re: American History
Post by: G M on March 04, 2011, 06:34:00 PM
You might want to send a copy to the white house.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 04, 2011, 06:34:26 PM
Something our President would do well to appreciate.
Title: Lincoln assumes office
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 07, 2011, 05:41:15 AM
The First Trick
March 2–9, 1861

The Old Public Functionary attended his last public function this week.

Delayed a bit by a rash of last-minute bills that needed his signature, President Buchanan arrived at Willard’s Hotel a little past noon on Monday in order to escort his successor, as tradition demanded, to his inauguration. Together they were an incongruous pair: the outgoing president, short and round, wore a swallow-tailed coat and broad-brimmed silk hat, while the new president, long and lean, wore a black cashmere suit and his trademark black stovepipe. Mrs. Lincoln and her children had been escorted on ahead.

Traveling in the presidential barouche, they were followed by a long parade: bands, floats full of pretty girls, mounted marshals, color guards, honored veterans and a phalanx of cavalrymen. On this sunny, festive day, President Buchanan’s feelings must have been bittersweet. At the head of a similar parade four years before, he began his presidency as one of the best-prepared political leaders ever to have assumed the office; he exits, after an economic panic and mounting sectional strife, with the country teetering on the brink of civil war so precariously that the rooftops of the buildings lining the route of this procession are crowned with sharpshooters, and artillery pieces command the avenues. Buchanan’s reputation is in ruins: almost daily he suffers to see the words imbecilic, moronic and traitorous affixed to his name. “My dear sir,’’ he at one point addressed Mr. Lincoln, “if you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed.’’

“Mr. President, I cannot say that I shall enter it with much pleasure,” Mr. Lincoln graciously replied, “but I assure you that I shall do what I can to maintain the high standards set by my illustrious predecessors who have occupied it.’’

Few of the other remarks that President Buchanan happened to utter prior to the ceremonies has been shared; no doubt his comments would be full of the punctilious pleasantries the former ambassador perfected at the palace of St. Petersburg and the Court of St. James’s. But it would be what he was thinking as he sat on that exalted rostrum and listened to his successor’s address that one would dearly love to know. He, after all, has been scorned, and Mr. Lincoln celebrated, by the very same editorialists. And yet a number of their key statements have been nearly identical.

For example, when Mr. Lincoln said, “The Union of these states is perpetual. . . no government proper ever had provision in its organic law for its own termination,’’ Mr. Buchanan no doubt recalled his annual message that he sent to Congress last December, where he said, “The Union of these states was designed to be perpetual. . . .Its framers never intended the absurdity of providing for its own destruction.’’

There are other parallels. Where Lincoln said, “No state upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union,’’ Buchanan said, “No state has a right upon its own to secede from the Union.” Where Lincoln said, “I shall take care that the laws. . . be faithfully executed,’’ Buchanan said, “My province is to execute the laws,’’ and while Lincoln said that the would use his power “to hold, occupy, and possess the property belonging to the government,’’ Buchanan offered a bit more flourish in saying, “It is my duty at all times to defend and protect the public property.’’

Of course, the parallels did not continue all the way through. Mr. Buchanan may have been waiting for Mr. Lincoln to imitate him, and offer an explanation of the origins of the conflict that would prominently feature a sharp and lengthy condemnation of a quarter century’s worth of abolitionist provocations. Instead Mr. Lincoln was succinct. “One section of our country believes slavery is right and out to be extended,’’ he tartly summarized, “while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. That is the only substantial dispute.’’

His tone left no doubt which opinion he held. And while Mr. Buchanan may have expected something similar to his long, lawyerly explanation of why the Constitution left him powerless to prevent states from seceding, Mr. Lincoln, though not overtly threatening, was nonetheless clear that he felt far from impotent : “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to `preserve, protect and defend’ it.’’ Mr. Buchanan found no authorization for action in the Constitution; Mr. Lincoln sees one in his constitutionally mandated oath.

Reaction to Mr. Lincoln’s address has run the gamut, not only among political views, but within them. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass was disappointed, telling friends that the speech, in which Lincoln “prostrated himself before the foul and withering curse of slavery,’’ was “little better than our worst fears.’’ The equally ardent abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner, however, approved of the way the speech showed “a hand of iron in a velvet glove.’’

Most of the voices in the seceded states, predictably enough, condemned the speech, with the Atlanta Confederacy calling it “a medley of ignorance, sanctimonious cant and tender-footed bullyism’’ and the Charleston Mercury saying that a “more lamentable display of feeble inability to grasp the circumstances of this momentous emergency could scarcely have been exhibited.’’

And yet Alexander Stephens, the newly minted vice president of the Confederacy, is reported to have privately admired the address as “the most adroit state paper ever published on this continent.’’ The smirking secessionist Senator Wigfall, the fire-eating Edmund Ruffin and the legalistic disunionist Thomas Cobb have all concluded that Lincoln’s words mean war. But Lincoln’s old adversary, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, disagrees. “He does not mean coercion; he says nothing about retaking the forts, or Federal property,’’ said Douglas in response to queries. “Every point in the address is susceptible of a double construction, but I think he does not mean coercion.’’ And there are many editorialists, not from northern cities but from Chattanooga and Raleigh and Lexington, all in slaveholding states that have yet to secede, who agree.

It is to these men, the pro-unionists of the upper south, and especially to the delegates of the Virginia Secession Convention, to whom Lincoln was speaking when he said in the address, “My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it.’’

Call it coincidence, but when Mr. Lincoln faced a different conflict this week, he took the same approach. Consider: Senator Seward, the man long-designated as Mr. Lincoln’s secretary of state, at the last moment withdrew his name from selection, apparently in protest that the new Cabinet would include Senator Chase of Ohio and other ironbacks who advocate taking a tougher, less conciliatory approach to the South than Mr. Seward prefers.

Was it principle? Pique? A power grab? Regardless — rather than confront Seward’s demand directly, Mr. Lincoln responded with a two-prong approach. He made it clear to a group of Seward’s friends that even though it would be regrettable to lose Seward, he was prepared to name to the State Department William Dayton, the attorney general of New Jersey; and of course he would keep Chase. At the same time, Lincoln wrote to Seward, requesting that he reconsider his withdrawal. In other words, he took a position, and waited for Seward to make the next move; and Seward, of course, acquiesced. “I can’t let Seward take the first trick,’’ Lincoln told a confidant.

Lincoln hoped to do something similar with the seceded states: take a strong position, and then wait until they either came to him on terms he found acceptable or took responsibility for starting the conflict. Shockingly, Lincoln’s plan was dead before he could articulate it. Two hours before the swearing in, President Buchanan received an urgent message from Major Anderson at Fort Sumter, informing his superiors that he was running out of supplies. If not relieved — and Anderson estimated that because of the Confederate forces massed on the shore, it would take 20,000 men to accomplish that mission — he would have to surrender the fort in six weeks. Lincoln had devised a strategy that could be expressed in one phrase: Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. Now, suddenly, time was running out.

This news did not reach President Lincoln until the afternoon following the inauguration, when the outgoing secretary of war, Joseph Holt, gave him a complete report — complete, that is, with explanations and assurances that the previous administration knew nothing of Major Anderson’s difficulties, that he had submitted no request for supplies, nor for reinforcements, nor had he warned about the construction of the rebels’ works. By that point, Buchanan was on a train, on his way back to his beloved Wheatland.
He had spoken to Lincoln since receiving the news; at the reception at the White House after the inauguration, the two men had a tete a tete. Buchanan was observed to be doing nearly all the talking, holding forth with urgent animation. Was the outgoing president imparting some final advice, sharing some guidance that would prove vital in the days ahead? Indeed. “I think you will find the water of the right hand well of the White House better than that at the left,’’ an eavesdropper overheard Buchanan say. Insights about the pantry and kitchen followed. The state of Sumter was never a topic.

Sources: To learn more about these events, please see “President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman,’’ by William Lee Miller (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008); “Lincoln President-Elect,’’ by Harold Holzer (Simon and Schuster, 2008); and “Days of Defiance,” by Maury Klein (Alfred A. Knopf, 1997).
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on March 10, 2011, 03:10:52 AM
The presidential election of 1800:

Title: Re: American History
Post by: Freki on March 10, 2011, 06:50:47 AM
Nice find :-D
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on March 10, 2011, 06:53:10 AM
Nice find :-D

Thank you, Freki.  And let me say that I thoroughly enjoy your contributions on the Founding Fathers/American Creed. 
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on March 10, 2011, 11:51:53 AM
If only Sally Hemings saved her dress with the stain for 200 years:               
****Y-chromosome studies indicate that Thomas Jefferson may very well have had children by the slave Sally Hemings.
Did Thomas Jefferson Father Slave Children?
Back to Build a Family Tree

The first American presidential sex scandal never went on trial, but rumors have persisted to this day that President and founding father Thomas Jefferson had an illicit relationship with his slave mistress, Sally Hemings, that bore him children. Jefferson never responded publicly to this attack on his character nor denied the accusations.

The circumstantial evidence is suggestive. Jefferson, who traveled extensively for long periods, always happened to be in residence nine months before the birth of each of Sally Hemings's seven children. Some of Hemings's children were said to bear a striking resemblance to Jefferson. And in an 1873 interview, Sally's fourth son Madison stated that his mother had been Jefferson's "concubine," and that he and his siblings were the president's children.

The Y chromosome keeps its family secrets and now, nearly two centuries later, DNA evidence has unequivocally linked a male descendant of Sally Hemings to the house of Thomas Jefferson.

To a geneticist, the obvious solution to resolve questions of paternity going back generations is to compare Y chromosomes from living descendants of the father in question. Because the Y chromosome is passed virtually intact from father to son to grandson and so on down the line, it traces the father's male side of the family tree.

 Jefferson's slave records listing the names of Sally Hemings and her sons.
If Jefferson fathered a child with Hemings, all his male descendants should carry a nearly identical copy of his Y chromosome. Investigators tracked down living male descendants of Hemings's sons and compared their Y-chromosome DNA to that from male descendants of the president's paternal uncle, Field Jefferson. (Thomas Jefferson's only legitimate son by his wife Martha died in infancy.)

The story the DNA told was that the descendant of Eston Hemings, Sally's youngest son, had the same genetic signature as the male descendants of Field Jefferson. But the descendants of Thomas Woodward, Sally's first son, did not share a genetic signature in common with Thomas Jefferson. The DNA data clearly shows that one of Sally's sons, Eston, born during the president's second term in office, was a Jefferson offspring. What the data cannot resolve definitively is whether Thomas Jefferson or another male relative on his father's side of the family was Eston Hemings's father.

It is noteworthy that the same Y chromosome type existed just 20 miles away with Thomas Jefferson's brother Randolph and his five sons. The historical records indicate that Randolph and his sons occasionally spent time at Monticello, the presidential residence, but the trail of evidence disappears there, leaving Thomas Jefferson as still the most likely father of Eston Hemings Jefferson.

Title: first republican party meeting
Post by: ccp on March 10, 2011, 05:43:44 PM
was in Wisconsin:

***The Origins of the Republican Party
Trying times spawn new forces. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 divided the country at the 36° 30' parallel between the pro-slavery, agrarian South and anti-slavery, industrial North, creating an uneasy peace which lasted for three decades. This peace was shattered in 1854 by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Settlers would decide if their state would be free or slave. Northern leaders such as Horace Greeley, Salmon Chase and Charles Sumner could not sit back and watch the flood of pro-slavery settlers cross the parallel. A new party was needed.

Where was the party born? Following the publication of the "Appeal of Independent Democrats" in major newspapers, spontaneous demonstrations occurred. In early 1854, the first proto-Republican Party meeting took place in Ripon, Wisconsin. On June 6, 1854 on the outskirts of Jackson, Michigan upwards of 10,000 people turned out for a mass meeting "Under the Oaks." This led to the first organizing convention in Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856.

The gavel fell to open the Party's first nominating convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 17, 1856, announcing the birth of the Republican Party as a unified political force.

Horace GreeleyThe Republican Party name was christened in an editorial written by New York newspaper magnate Horace Greeley. Greeley printed in June 1854: "We should not care much whether those thus united (against slavery) were designated 'Whig,' 'Free Democrat' or something else; though we think some simple name like 'Republican' would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery."

The elections of 1854 saw the Republicans take Michigan and make advances in many states, but this election was dominated by the emergence of the short-lived American (or 'Know-Nothing') Party. By 1855, the Republican Party controlled a majority in the House of Representatives. The new Party decided to hold an organizing convention in Pittsburgh in early 1856, leading up to the Philadelphia convention.

As the convention approached, things came to a head — and to blows. On the floor of the Senate Democratic representatives Preston Brooks and Lawrence Keitt (South Carolina) brutally attacked Charles Sumner with a cane after Sumner gave a passionate anti-slavery speech which Brooks took offense (he was related to the main antagonist of Sumner's speech, South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler). Both representatives resigned from Congress with severe indignation over their ouster, but were returned to Congress by South Carolina voters in the next year. Sumner was not able to return to the Congressional halls for four years after the attack. Brooks was heard boasting "Next time I will have to kill him," as he left the Senate floor after the attack.

On the same day as the attack came the news of the armed attack in Lawrence, Kansas. As a direct outgrowth of the "settler sovereignty" of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, an armed band of men from Missouri and Nebraska sacked the town of Lawrence and arrested the leaders of the free state. The anti-abolitionists had made it clear that "settler sovereignty" meant pro-slavery. Labeled only as "ruffians" by Southern politicians, Horace Greeley was quick to decry both events as plots of the pro-slavery South. "Failing to silence the North by threats. . .the South now resorts to actual violence." The first rumblings of the Civil War had begun. The stage was set for the 1856 election, one which held the future of the Union in its grasp.

Read the Republican Platform of 1856

And what of the nickname "Grand Old Party"?
The nickname of the Republican Party didn't get attached to it until 1888. Previously, the nickname had been used by Southern Democrats. After the Republicans won back the Presidency and Congress for the first time since the Grant administration, the Chicago Tribune proclaimed: "Let us be thankful that under the rule of the Grand Old Party ... these United States will resume the onward and upward march which the election of Grover Cleveland in 1884 partially arrested."
 Copyright ©1999-2010 by the Independence Hall Association, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: DougMacG on March 11, 2011, 11:33:39 AM
CCP wrote: "first republican party meeting was in Wisconsin"

Very surprising that would be the center of action then, much less now.  Besides the State Capital crisis, today the new national R party leader is out of Wisconsin, it is home of the biggest senate seat shift, a fiscally sound businessman Ron Johnson in for Russ Feingold.  And one of the only conservative influential members of Washington media is from Green Bay, Wisc, WSJ Editorial Page Editor: Paul Gigot.  If not for Packer fans (like Steeler fans clinging to God, guns, gays...), a beautiful part of the country.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 18, 2011, 09:28:25 AM
This is my essay from today’s NYT. (

SOUTHERN HISTORY Visitors tour the Civil War exhibition at the Charleston Museum. More Photos »

Published: March 16, 2011

Stand atop the unexcavated mound of earth that covers part of this 19th-century fort and gaze northward over its half-disinterred ruins. Across the harbor, you can just make out the rooftops on which the inhabitants of Charleston stood 150 years ago this April, cheering as the fort — along with its some four score United States soldiers — was bombarded by the troops of the newly formed Confederate States of America. “A thrill went through the whole city,” wrote the aide de camp of the leader of the Confederate forces, Brig. Gen. Pierre Beauregard. “It was felt that the Rubicon was passed.”

It was the beginning of the Civil War. Or, as it is sometimes called here, the War Between the States. Or more provocatively: the War of Northern Aggression.

As commemorations of the war’s sesquicentennial begin this spring, with special exhibitions and symposia adding to the already extensive historical treatments that can be sampled at battlefields and museums reaching from Gettysburg to New Orleans, it might seem that the war’s heritage is relatively simple. As seen from a perch up North, the war’s purpose is morally and politically clear. Slavery’s abolition, like Lincoln’s powerful redefinition of the nation’s principles, set the United States on a path toward equality that it might have never found through antebellum thickets. The Civil War created contemporary America.

But spend some time in Southern museums, and it becomes clear that what seems evident up North is here clouded and contested. And if, in the North, the war seems part of a continuum of history, here it remains a cataclysm. The war was not a continuation of Southern history; it was a break in it. And that is still, for the South, the problem.

Even if Southern commemorations fully celebrate the Union that grew out of that war and readily repudiate slavery and its principles, disorientation is mixed with commemoration. The past is renounced, but not fully. The dead are remembered, but what about their cause? Nearly every war site and exhibition I have seen in the South wrestles with double perspectives and conflicting sentiments alien to the North.

Fort Sumter, for example, is a National Monument overseen by the National Park Service, primarily because of its importance in that inaugural battle. But it also has a different significance here. After defeating the Union soldiers, the Confederates held the fort almost to the end. For the South, Fort Sumter represented not just the start of the war, but one of the last hopes that it might prevail. At least five times during the war, the North tried to take Charleston, but the fort provided decisive protection. Eventually its fortifications and 50-foot-high walls were pounded to rubble. (“A stabilized ruin” is how the Park Service describes its current condition.) Charleston, also in ruins because of Union bombardment, ultimately fell after Gen. William T. Sherman cut a swath of devastation through the South.

This kind of devastation meant the experience of the war was quite different here. Soldiers from Massachusetts and Maine may have died, but the battlefields were far from home. The war really took place in the South. There were 43 major battles within 30 miles of Richmond, Va., the capital of the Confederate States of America. This gave the South a deeper acquaintance with trauma and hardship. New York and Philadelphia were never subjected to a blockade as Charleston was. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center tells us:

“In Charleston, where inconveniences soon gave way to chronic difficulties and privations, the war prompted suffering, tenacity, ingenuity and great personal bravery.”

This theme also runs through the Charleston Museum’s treatment of the war in its extensive permanent exhibition about the state’s history. “Indiscriminate shelling of the city,” we read, “was one of the many factors which generated hatred of Northern forces among white Charlestonians.” And at the war’s end, the exhibition notes, General Sherman himself urged anybody who took such things lightly to go to Charleston “and he will pray louder and deeper than ever that the country may in the long future be spared any more war.”

Ramifications were widespread and are still evident. Middleton Place plantation, just northwest of Charleston, is now a national landmark owned by the Middleton Place Foundation. As the plantation’s guide book notes, its gardens reflect “the grace and grandeur of the southern plantation of the 18th and 19th centuries.” Henry, the first Middleton to own the land, was the second president of the First Continental Congress; his son Arthur signed the Declaration of Independence; his grandson Henry was governor of South Carolina. His great-grandson Williams was a signer of South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession, thus unraveling the work of his ancestors.

But the breaking of Southern history came not just with secession but with defeat — and the end of slavery. As you drive into Middleton Place you follow a long road through the grounds until you reach an enormous oval meadow. You expect to see a grand manor house at the far end, symmetrically framed by oaks draped in Spanish moss. Instead there is just an empty space, a flat foundation on which lie mounds of broken brick.

The house, it turns out, was burned and ransacked by the Union Army in 1865; a major earthquake in 1886 finished the job. So while the trappings of the Old South can be seen in the centuries-old trees and formal gardens, an emptiness lies at the plantation’s center. The effect is all the more pungent because many of the Middleton furnishings and art works were saved from the wreckage or returned by relatives and set out in a small “flanking house” on the side, where the riches of the once powerful clan can now be seen.

It wasn’t only the house that was left in ruins. Without slavery, the antebellum plantation was simply unsustainable, which meant that traditional views about social life, culture and status were also overturned. Surviving plantations ended up being cherished as artificial relics of antebellum culture. In tours, little reference was made to slavery or how the lives of slaves and of masters intertwined. Only during the last 20 years have plantations and historical homes started to devote serious attention to the exploration of the lives and roles of the enslaved.

It is a peculiar Southern twist: some plantations are almost becoming museums about their slave-holding past. This kind of rebellion against remnants of the Old South can be found in other institutions as well. The Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C., for example, established itself in 1991 in direct opposition to the traditions of the Old South. Its exhibitions are about Southern history and culture, but it embraces modernity and egalitarianism and rejects nostalgia and sentimental guilt. Of course, this too is a reflection of cultural trauma: it involves a radical break with traditions, never a simple matter.

But there are also still places in the South where the sting of disastrous defeat and the lure of the Lost Cause stubbornly resist submission or reflection. In Charleston, the small Confederate Museum is run by the Daughters of the Confederacy, just as it was at its founding in 1899. It has an official imprimatur: it holds a long-term lease on one of the most visible city-owned buildings, Market Hall, which stands at the head of Market Street. Inside, you find relics from that Lost Cause, including items donated by Confederate soldiers and their families at the end of the 19th century: clothing, banners, weaponry, curios.

By defining itself so narrowly, the museum indulges in a kind of fetishism. In one display case is a ball — a round bullet — that we are told was removed from the neck of Lt. Col. C. Irvine Walker at the Battle of Atlanta. Another case shows a small silver matchbox and unstruck matches that belonged to Beauregard, who attacked Fort Sumter. There is even a sliver of cedar cut from the tree where Gen. Robert E. Lee’s tent was pitched at the time of his surrender at Appomattox.

There is no discussion of historical causes or effects, no narratives and no interpretation. There doesn’t need to be. These are treated as almost magical objects. A wooden gavel made in 1899 is displayed: its head comes from wood used in the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, where President Jefferson Davis oversaw the fortunes of the Confederate States of America; the handle comes from the wooden platform on which the gun that fired the first shot at Fort Sumter rested. Can it be doubted what kinds of rulings that gavel was meant to enforce?

That museum is an extreme case: it avoids historical crisis by turning its back on history. Matters are far more responsibly presented at institutions like the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. That museum has a remarkable collection of objects and manuscripts; it has published research papers and lent objects to other institutions. But like Charleston’s museum, it grew out of personal memorabilia collected by the daughters and wives of Confederate soldiers. How could that heritage not affect the museum’s perspectives?

Its permanent exhibition, “The Confederate Years,” which I saw in 2008, recounts the history of the war’s Southern battles, accompanied by bullet-torn notebooks, weaponry and bloodstained uniforms. For the most part, it is simply history told from a particular geographical perspective. But there are also gnawing hints of unresolved tensions. A full accounting of the war’s causes is never given and the institution of slavery is minimized. Facts bend under pressure.

Lincoln, we read, wanted the war so badly he “succeeded in maneuvering the Confederacy into firing the first shot of the war.” The mobilization of the Confederate Army, we also read, involved the participation of “tens of thousands of African-American laborers” both “enslaved and free”; this is a strange wording implying broad black support, minimizing any hint of coercion and ignoring, too, the fact that nearly four million people — one-third of the South’s population — were then enslaved. But you can also feel hints of internal debates within the museum as differing exhibits express differing perspectives, sending out feelers, trying modifications.

Even after 150 years, this is not easy. At the Charleston Museum, there is a display of the furniture and artifacts associated with the composition of South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession in 1860. At one time, these objects would have been sanctified, the way another museum might treat, say, Washington’s desk, or Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. And there still is an honorific aura bestowed on this Secessionist paraphernalia. But they occupy a strange middle ground: their status is a bit more historical than sacral. The exhibition never acknowledges Secession to have been a terrible mistake, but it also doesn’t fully embrace the idea of a Lost Cause.

You feel the strain in the museum’s attempt to explain “a Southern Perspective”: “What, many Southerners argued, was the advantage of remaining in a Union which did not protect their rights and interests?” But is this sympathetically posed or analytically asked? At times, the sympathy is apparent: “The story of Charleston in the War Between the States is one of suffering and sacrifice, ingenuity and tenacity, and great personal bravery of Americans in a time of total war.”

Yet the same exhibition is quite frank about other issues. And we learn, too, about the bizarre consequences South Carolina’s legal code could have when a black regiment of Union soldiers was captured. What was to be done with them? “There was no such thing as black soldiers,” a label reads. “Either the men were free blacks leading a slave revolt or they were slaves in rebellion. The penalty in either case was death or re-enslavement.”

As it turned out, when four former slaves among them were brought to trial, the courts ultimately supported the notion that they were to be treated as prisoners of war. But this meant that, even before its defeat, Southern axioms were being shaken.

So it is no surprise that accounts of the war remain quite different in the South and the North. In 2008, an exhibition about Generals Grant and Lee mounted by the Virginia Historical Society was to travel to the New-York Historical Society. But the New-York Historical Society believed the show had too strong a Southern perspective; it had to be reworked.

In 2009, the same two institutions created contrasting exhibitions about the abolitionist John Brown. In New York, he was championed as a hero for his abolitionist beliefs and attempts to oppose slavery. But in Virginia, while his cause was honored, questions were raised about his methods that went unasked in New York, including whether Brown’s raid on an arsenal, his taking of hostages and his murder of innocents made him more similar to contemporary terrorists than to other abolitionists. In New York, the justice of the cause trumped the method; in Virginia, it did not.

So striking are such differences that one museum, the American Civil War Center in Richmond, claims to tell the history of three different ideological parties to the war: the North, the South and the Slaves, or, as they are peculiarly called here, Union, Home and Freedom. The museum even labels maps and charts with the initials, U, H and F. The effect is strange because we can’t quite figure out how to evaluate the arguments. Great effort is made not to give offense to any party.

But is this really helpful? Aren’t there times when moral clarity and the justice of a cause must be identified and upheld? Will a civil war always have to be fought over the meanings of the Civil War? The history of the Civil War in the North is by no means a simple matter, and it too has come under revision, but Southern discomfort with assessing the Southern cause in memorials and exhibitions is rampant. And a tendency to embrace cultural relativism as a compromise ends up making it all seem fairly trivial.

These tendencies become particularly jarring at a place as important as Gettysburg. A recently constructed Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War offers an encyclopedic survey of the conflict, giving pride of place to Lincoln’s address. In addition, a 360-degree oil painting of the battlefield — a cyclorama — was reconditioned and mounted in its own gallery, offering a stunning panoramic vision of a battle that may have turned the tide of the war.

Gettysburg became important because of the Union victory there and because of Lincoln’s extraordinary tribute. Eventually regimental memorial monuments from Northern states were erected on the battlefield. But after the war, how could a unified nation exclude Southern memorials? Gettysburg had become a national site. So 50 years after the war, Southern states were permitted to erect memorials. The first, raised in 1917 by Virginia, was a triumphalist statue of Robert E. Lee mounted on his horse atop a towering pedestal. The last, which appeared in 1982, honored the veterans of Tennessee.

The result is strange. The defeat of the South here was the turning point of the war: one spot became known as the “high water mark of the Confederacy” because it was the closest Southern forces came to winning and putting the cities of the North at risk. But the Southern memorials do not generally affirm a unified view of a new nation. They insist on their own perspective as if nothing has changed. The South Carolina monument, dedicated in 1963, reads:

That men of honor might forever know the responsibilities of freedom.

Dedicated South Carolinians stood and were counted for their heritage and convictions.

Abiding faith in the sacredness of States Rights provided their creed.

Here many earned eternal glory.

The responsibilities of freedom? The sacredness of States Rights? Eternal glory earned for their creed? Where is the vision Lincoln affirmed, which ultimately triumphed? Gettysburg’s ground was hallowed because of the principles upheld. But such monuments are public declarations that turn the war itself into contested ground. And they don’t even try to comprehend the cause for which the Union dead gave the last full measure of devotion. The war over the War continues.

Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on March 18, 2011, 12:33:03 PM
Interesting read.  I just watched a Globetrekker episode where they visited two plantations in Lousianna.

(who needs to travel anymore - we get to see the world on TV)

The first one was beautiful but lacked ANY mention whatsoever that it was a slave plantation.  No remains of slave quarters, pictures, etc.

The one down the road had the remains of one slave house and spoke of the issue during the tour.

Again Southerners can call me a Yankee if they want but this whitewash of is no different than say Germans covering the site of Auschwitz with a beer hall.

Blacks have every right to be angry.   

Forget Haley Barbour.  I've read enough about him.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: DougMacG on March 18, 2011, 09:23:08 PM
"Blacks have every right to be angry."

Some truth in that, but that anger should not be indiscriminate.  Speaking of our heritage only, some whites were only on the side of freeing slaves and gave blood and lives for that.  Some black ancestors such as from Kenyan roots might have been slave owners, slave sellers or slaves.  One can not tell by color of the skin which side of history's horrible struggles people's ancestors were on.

A more timely question would be, what atrocities are going on now and what can we do about them.
Title: WSJ: Civil War death numbers
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 26, 2011, 07:38:17 AM

RALEIGH, N.C.—Josh Howard is playing with fire here in the heart of the old Confederacy, with a scholarly finding that could rewrite the history of the Civil War.

For more than a century, North Carolina has proudly claimed that it lost more soldiers than any other Southern state in the nation's bloodiest conflict. But after meticulously combing through military, hospital and cemetery records, the historian is finding the truth isn't so clear-cut.

Official military records compiled in 1866 counted 40,275 North Carolina soldiers who died in uniform. Though known to be faulty, those records have gone largely unchallenged. With most of his research done, Mr. Howard has confirmed only about 31,000 deaths. "It's a number we can defend with real documents," he says. He expects to confirm a few thousand more by the time he finishes this summer, but the final tally will most certainly fall short of the original count, he says.

Across the state border in Virginia, traditionally believed to have the fourth-highest number of war deaths in the Confederacy, librarian Edwin Ray has identified about 31,000 Virginia soldiers who died in the war—more than double the Old Dominion's once-accepted number of 14,794. And he still has more to add.

"It's going to be close," says Mr. Ray, a 55-year-old Air Force veteran who works at the Library of Virginia. "Josh and I are sure of that. It's going to come down to a very small number."

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War beginning in mid-April, that small number could spark a big controversy between two states with rivalries that date back to the great conflict. Some Civil War buffs in North Carolina have already accused Mr. Howard of attempting to diminish the state's heroism and the hardship it suffered. "Records were a whole lot fresher 150 years ago," says Thomas Smith Jr., commander of the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, who is suspicious of Mr. Howard's new count.

"I don't care if Virginia has two people more who died, or a hundred more," says Michael Chapman, a 55-year-old videographer from Polkton, N.C., who used to head up the local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp. He calls the recounts "irrelevant."

The research by Messrs. Howard and Ray has the potential to rewrite part of the history of the war that redefined America.

History books maintain that about 620,000 soldiers died in the war, when giant armies clashed in battles on a scale never seen before or since on the North American continent. Yet the 1866 counts, compiled by the federal government, were based on scattered and inconsistent Union and Confederate records.
The war was a chaotic affair, with armies that grew large and quickly, and rudimentary bureaucracies that were incapable of tallying the losses. Neither side had any reliable way to accurately record the overwhelming numbers of war deaths. Soldiers didn't wear dog tags for identification, as they do today. Record-keeping fell apart as the war progressed, especially in the South, say historians.

The new counts aren't likely to unseat the Civil War as this nation's most devastating conflict. The second-highest toll of American military losses came in World War II, with more than 405,000 deaths, according to a congressional research report. Still, historians say, the overall Civil War death toll could change by tens of thousands if every state were to conduct a count. It could also revise historians' understanding of which states suffered the heaviest losses.

To opponents of recounts, that's a slippery slope. "Some have had a mindset that you are just trying to downplay all that is Confederate," says Keith Hardison, co-chair of North Carolina's Civil War 150th anniversary committee, which ordered Mr. Howard's study. When the recount was announced, Mr. Howard received angry emails, letters and calls. "One hundred and fifty years later, there are people on both sides of the aisle who have made up their mind and don't want to be confused by the facts," Mr. Hardison says.

Others say getting an accurate number might be a lost cause. Harvard University president and Civil War scholar Drew Gilpin Faust commends "the impetus to count" as an act of paying homage to the fallen. But records were so poorly kept at the time and afterward that no one will ever really know how many people actually died, she says.
Messrs. Howard, Ray and other supporters of recounting say the digitization of service records, the creation of searchable databases and other technological innovations make it much easier—and enticing—for historians to produce more accurate counts. The two researchers are using electronic records, but also traditional sources like archives, diaries, church records and newspaper accounts, to figure out more precisely who died where, how and on which side.

Neither Mr. Howard nor Mr. Ray wants to start a war between the states. "I'm not interested in fighting it out over who lost the most," says Mr. Howard, a 31-year-old North Carolinian. "I'm interested in getting it as accurate as possible."

Still, the two men know they're stirring up trouble. "When you research the Civil War, you are going to have backlash, no matter what," Mr. Howard says.

Indeed, the new numbers add fuel to a long-simmering rivalry between Virginia, which was home to the Confederacy's capital in Richmond, and North Carolina, which claimed more losses for the Southern cause.

The two states often jousted over which units had fought harder, and the arguing continued after the war was over, says John Coski, chief historian for the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. He remembers arguing with boys at camp in the 1970s about which state lost more soldiers.

 "It was just like sports teams today," says Henry Kidd, 60, a re-enactor from Colonial Heights, Va., who has ancestors who fought from both states.

In Virginia, troops often saw themselves as the Confederacy's crack fighters because they were led by its best strategists, including Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. In numerous publications and speeches during the war and after, North Carolinians prided themselves on fighting the hardest. For generations, North Carolinians claimed their soldiers were among the first to fight, got the farthest on the battlefield at Gettysburg, and were the last to fight near Appomattox Court House, where Gen. Lee's army surrendered.

John C. Inscoe, a history professor at the University of Georgia and an expert on the Civil War in North Carolina, says Tar Heels may have had a political motive in amplifying their numbers. The state had an inferiority complex after the war, because its units were known for high desertion rates, he says.

Not so, says Greg Mast, a 62-year-old re-enactor and retired postal worker from Timberlake, N.C. Mr. Mast says he has researched desertion among various units to explore that claim, and found Tar Heel rates weren't any higher than those of other units. "The more you study the war, the less true the received wisdom about the war seems to be," he says.

Mr. Howard says North Carolina troops did desert in large numbers toward the end of the war, but he says it made sense, since many soldiers wanted to get back to their families when they heard that Union forces under Gen. William T. Sherman had entered their state.

North Carolina and Virginia are the only two Southern states currently conducting official recounts. But a devoted handful of amateurs are doing their own counts. Bing Chambers, a 63-year-old retiree and amateur historian from Columbia, S.C., has spent at least 17 years researching his state's war dead. He thinks his new research will raise his state's toll to about 22,000 from an earlier estimate of 17,682. He has long wondered about North Carolina's claim. "Frankly, 40,000 always seemed like a lot," he says, adding that his research has proved a longstanding Palmetto State claim that not one white South Carolinian fought for the federal government during the war.

Civil War death tolls from more populous Northern states still surpass Southern losses, as the North fielded a larger army that suffered staggering casualties in a grueling war of attrition. New York reported the most deaths of any state—46,534, according to the 1866 federal report.
But in the South, the 1866 report established an interstate hierarchy of loss. North Carolina's death toll overwhelmed all other Confederate states; South Carolina trailed as a distant second. Mississippi was third with 15,265, and Virginia fourth.

The war generally doesn't evoke the same public interest in the North, Midwest and the West as it does in the defeated South, where most of the battles were fought and the land was devastated. For generations, whites in the region also migrated less frequently than those in the North—where immigrants with no ties to the Civil War flooded industrialized cities—so more people retained a family connection to those who fought.

Mr. Howard, whose expertise is the American Revolution, had no intention of working on the Civil War when he joined the North Carolina Office of Archives & History in 2007. But when his boss went looking for someone to gather data for a book commemorating the 150th anniversary, Mr. Howard's experience with military records made him an obvious choice.

In an office amid a warren of cubicles, Mr. Howard has spent most days since last June poring over thousands of records. He checks military documents, hospital files, prisoner-of-war camp records, postwar pension applications, court martial proceedings, battle reports and other material to try to determine whether each soldier who served from North Carolina died in combat, or by execution or from disease, which count as a war-related death.

He often starts with a name off a muster roll—a monthly record kept by army clerks to figure out soldiers' pay—and tries to track what happened to each soldier. If it isn't immediately clear, he searches further, looking at census data, pension records, diaries, cemetery records, hospital records and other material.

Mr. Howard, his tie loosened, sat slumped at his desk in front of his computer on a recent day. An image of a Confederate hospital record was illuminated on the screen. He looked for a notation clarifying whether the patient was discharged or died. The soldier was discharged, but it wasn't clear from these records what happened to him, whether he went back into combat or left the army.

The work sometimes leads down fascinating paths that illuminate the war in ways he never expected. He found one man who fought for the Confederacy, was taken prisoner and then joined the Union army and commanded black troops. There were men taken prisoner who never returned to North Carolina. Their wives assumed they were dead, but census records showed they took up new families in other states. He found Confederate prisoners of war who agreed to fight Native Americans out West in exchange for being released.

Many cases are straightforward. If Mr. Howard finds a report that marks an individual "killed in action" at a particular battle, or one that shows a soldier died in a hospital or prison, he adds it to his list of men who died in uniform.

Many died in battle. Others died of illnesses like chronic diarrhea or typhoid. A few died from spider bites. One was shot by a fellow soldier after allegedly being mistaken for a bear. But for thousands of other soldiers, Mr. Howard can find no way to tell when, where or how they died. Many disappear along the paper trail.

Confederate Private Solomon Willis, Company F, 55th, North Carolina Infantry, enlisted at age 32 in 1862, and was captured by federal forces in April 1865, according to records Mr. Howard found. A report shows that Mr. Willis, in good health, was released from prison in June of that year. But Mr. Howard couldn't find a record showing that the soldier returned to his wife in North Carolina. She filed for a state veteran's pension in 1901, claiming Mr. Willis was killed in action. Without proof of death, Mr. Howard couldn't put Mr. Willis on his list.

Mr. Ray, a research librarian at the state Library of Virginia, started looking at Virginia military deaths from colonial times to the present about nine years ago. The result of his effort is an online database. The Civil War remains the largest and most difficult part of his database because of its size and the poor records, he says, and he expects a more complete tally will take several more years.

His database lists 27,520 Civil War military deaths from Virginia. But he has yet to check all of his records against National Archives data and census records. He has found roughly another 4,000 Union deaths from West Virginia, which was part of Virginia until 1863, and expects to find more war dead from cemetery records and county histories.

While Mr. Ray plays down the rivalry with North Carolina, he is confident Virginia eventually will be declared the leader in war deaths within the Confederacy. "The odds are, when we look at it it's going to make sense that Virginia would have the larger numbers," he says.

Responds Mr. Howard: "We'll see when we're done."
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on March 26, 2011, 11:24:15 AM
Of note most deaths were due to disease and malnutrition and not batlle deaths:

If I recall in the "Battle Cry for Freedom" it was pointed out that for every soldier killed in battle around two died of disease in the Civil War.  In Napoleon's day it was more like 90% died from exposure, disease, etc.  God knows what it was in ancient times.

Title: civil war finally over
Post by: ccp on April 04, 2011, 07:27:50 AM
Finally passing
Assessing America’s bloodiest war, 150 years later
Mar 31st 2011 | ATLANTA, MONTGOMERY AND COLUMBIA | from the print edition
 IN FEBRUARY 1961 the festivities marking the centennial of Jefferson Davis’s inauguration as president of the Confederacy drew some 50,000 revellers, including the governors of three southern states, to Montgomery, Alabama. In the run-up to the commemoration, which lasted a week, white Alabamans formed “Confederate Colonel” and “Confederate Belle” chapters. Teachers came to school in period costumes. Hundreds lined the streets to escort the actor playing Davis from the railway station to the Exchange Hotel, where he was met by the sitting chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court portraying his antebellum counterpart. The next night 5,000 people attended a centennial ball.

Compare Montgomery’s centennial with the sesquicentennial, which this February drew a ragtag few hundred enthusiasts (and no elected officials) to parade through Montgomery. The 1961 celebration took place in a South engulfed in a battle over segregation. The war’s ultimate legacy was not yet clear. But that battle is now over. Forced segregation, the Confederacy’s last death throes, lost. A black man now sits in the White House, and by most economic indicators the South has drawn nearly level with the rest of the country.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the American civil war’s beginning. The first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, on April 12th 1861. Passions can sometimes still flare—as William Faulkner, the South’s great novelist, wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Earlier this year, for instance, a group of Mississippians proposed honouring a Confederate general who later became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan with a special car licence-plate. In South Carolina more than a thousand people marched through downtown Columbia in January to protest against the flying of the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds.

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Such lingering echoes are hardly surprising, though they are ever rarer. The war split and nearly broke America. It killed 620,000 soldiers—more Americans than died in all the country’s wars until Vietnam, combined. And it set 4m slaves free.

In 1860 in the 11 future Confederate states, 38% of the population—including majorities in Mississippi and South Carolina, and nearly a majority in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana (the other Confederate states were Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia)—was enslaved. The South’s economy depended on them. During the 19th century the North’s economy became largely industrial and increasingly urbanised. The South remained largely agricultural, its wealth concentrated in land and slaves. The war destroyed that wealth. Income per head in the South dropped to less than 40% of that in the North, and stayed there for the rest of the century. As late as 1938 Franklin Roosevelt singled out the South as “the nation’s No. 1 economic problem.”

Yet after the huge public investments of the New Deal and the second world war, the South began to attract industry and manufacturing—in part precisely because it was poor, and its labour cheap. Today, average income per head in the 11 former Confederate states has almost caught up; it is $36,350, compared with a national average of $40,584. Admittedly, the aggregate figure masks great regional differences. Agriculture, manufacturing and mineral production remain central to the economies of the Deep South states; almost all of the former confederate states are poorer than average (with Mississippi the poorest state in the union). Virginia, by contrast, ranks 7th among states in income per head; it has a thriving tech sector, as well as a number of federal agencies and wealthy suburbs of Washington, DC. North Carolina boasts its own tech hub in the university triangle of Raleigh-Durham.

Texas and Florida both face budgetary problems, but so do many states. Economically they more closely resemble Arizona, another state that has boomed over the past decade, than they do other Southern states. Similarly, Mississippi’s companions at the low end of the per-capita income table are West Virginia and Idaho, neither of which fought for the Confederacy. Like Mississippi, they lack a big city, have relatively uneducated populations and rely heavily on mining and agriculture. The poverty of the Deep South is less southern than rural. The economic legacy of the war, in other words, has all but faded.

Strong government, hated government

Politically as well as economically, the civil war left the South broken and directionless. Jefferson Davis was captured in southern Georgia a month after his best general, Robert E. Lee, surrendered. Abraham Lincoln advocated reconciliation, but he was shot just five days after Lee’s surrender. The next election, in 1866, put Congress under the control of radical Republicans, who stationed federal troops throughout the South.

Republican Congresses also passed the 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution, which stated that everyone born in the United States had certain rights as citizens that states could not take away, and that states could not bar people from voting due to “race, colour or previous condition of servitude”. Those amendments, like the 13th, which banned slavery, came with clauses granting Congress the power to enforce them. Such grants of power were new. The Bill of Rights limited federal power. These post-civil-war amendments expanded it.

But if a more powerful and active federal government is one enduring legacy of the war, another is distrust and even hatred of that government. White southerners resented “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”—their terms, respectively, for northerners who came south after the war to seek their fortune, and for white southerners who supported the federal government. Some of these attitudes persist. In late 1865 Confederate veterans in Tennessee formed the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist organisation that used violence against former slaves. It still survives, milder on the surface but vicious underneath.

How it all beganFor most of the next hundred years, white southerners ardently subverted the promises of the civil-war amendments by enacting the segregationist policies that came to be known as Jim Crow laws. These laws gained legitimacy when the Supreme Court ruled in 1896 that laws enforcing segregation were constitutional, provided the facilities available for blacks and whites were equal. In practice they never were, but segregation remained law and custom in the South. The Supreme Court signalled an end to all that in the 1954 case Brown v Board of Education, which ruled that separate facilities were inherently unequal.

But that ruling set off huge resistance in the South. The governors of Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi all physically blocked black students from entering formerly white schools. The long dormant Ku Klux Klan rose again. This time, however, southern resistance was met both by organised civil disobedience and by some measure of federal will. John Kennedy and his successor, Lyndon Johnson, were Democrats and civil-rights advocates, willing to use federal muscle where other presidents were not.

The civil-rights movement presaged a partisan sea-change in American politics. After the war, Republicans were anathema in the South, and southerners were anathema in national politics. Before the outbreak of war southerners had dominated federal political institutions, producing most of its presidents, House speakers, Senate leaders and Supreme Court justices. After the war’s end, the next president to be elected from a former Confederate state was Johnson, a Texan, in 1964. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law with Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks in attendance. His advocacy discomfited segregationist southern Democrats such as John Stennis and Strom Thurmond. Thurmond switched parties early, in 1964. Others followed.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan’s advocacy of smaller, less intrusive government resonated nationally, but he made a particular push for southern white Democrats. During the civil-rights era, segregationists often couched their position as a defence of “states’ rights”; and Reagan’s endorsement of those rights at a Mississippi county fair, while campaigning for the presidency in 1980, sealed his success in the South. His election gave Republicans control of the Senate for the first time since 1955.

Since then the South has grown steadily more Republican, though two of the three Democrats elected after Johnson—Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton—were southerners, who could attract southern whites. Today most southern members of Congress are Republican. And southern states are growing much faster than northern ones. In the next Congress Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will all add seats at the expense of the north-east and the Midwest.

The long tail

Segregation was the civil war’s long tail. In 1963, two years after the mock inauguration of Jefferson Davis, George Wallace, Alabama’s governor, stood on those same capitol steps and declared that “from this cradle of the Confederacy, this very heart of the great Anglo-Saxon Southland…I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation for ever.” Segregation was so unjust that it is easy to see it as inevitably doomed. It was not. It took blood and struggle to end it. But ended it was, and two decades later Wallace himself, the face of segregation, apologised for his words.

Ten years after that, the South elected its first black governor, Douglas Wilder in Virginia. In 2008 Barack Obama won Virginia, North Carolina and Florida and ran strongly in Georgia. The gap in black and white voter registration has narrowed dramatically throughout the South. And black Americans, who left the South in the early 20th century in what became known as the Great Migration, are moving back. Today Atlanta is home to more blacks than any city apart from New York, and 57% of black Americans live in the South—the highest proportion since 1960.

Jefferson Davis saw the lightVoting remains racially polarised; southern whites tend to vote Republican and southern blacks Democratic. In 2008, for instance, Mr Obama won 98% of the black vote in Alabama and Mississippi but only 10% and 11% of the white vote. But that is hardly unique to the South: Mr Obama ran 12 points behind John McCain nationally among white voters. And racially polarised voting is both a subtle problem—a far cry from the obvious injustice of segregation and slavery—and a waning one. Young white voters backed Mr Obama in much higher numbers than older ones did.

This March Haley Barbour, who has a record of racially insensitive remarks, said in an interview: “Slavery was the primary, central cause of secession…abolishing slavery was morally imperative and necessary, and it’s regrettable that it took the civil war to do it. But it did.” Mr Barbour wants to be president. His remarks not only directly refute the ancient argument that slavery was not the principal cause of the war; they showed that there is no longer political gain in pretending otherwise.

Some people have lamented the relative public indifference to the anniversary this year, compared with 50 years ago. But back then the war’s fundamental question—whether all American citizens are equal, regardless of race—was not fully answered. Today it is. This is not to say that racism no longer exists, or that white southerners will not continue to oppose Mr Obama in greater numbers than any other demographic group. But their battle with him will be at the ballot box. In his last appearance, in 1889, Jefferson Davis told the young southerners in his audience: “The past is dead; let it bury its dead …let me beseech you to lay aside all rancour, all bitter sectional feeling, and to take your places in the ranks of those who will bring about a consummation devoutly to be wished—a reunited country.” His last wish now seems to stand fulfilled.

Title: wikipedia - Civil War photographers
Post by: ccp on April 12, 2011, 11:58:04 AM
So many civil war photos were lost to history, fires, used as panes for windows only to be damaged by the sun, deliberately destroyed.  Yet it is noted here the US Civil  War was still the most photographed war of the 19th century:
Title: Origins of Memorial Day
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 30, 2011, 11:12:39 AM
MOST Americans know that Memorial Day is about honoring the nation’s war dead. It is also a holiday devoted to department store sales, half-marathons, picnics, baseball and auto racing. But where did it begin, who created it, and why?

At the end of the Civil War, Americans faced a formidable challenge: how to memorialize 625,000 dead soldiers, Northern and Southern. As Walt Whitman mused, it was “the dead, the dead, the dead — our dead — or South or North, ours all” that preoccupied the country. After all, if the same number of Americans per capita had died in Vietnam as died in the Civil War, four million names would be on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, instead of 58,000.
Officially, in the North, Memorial Day emerged in 1868 when the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization, called on communities to conduct grave-decorating ceremonies. On May 30, funereal events attracted thousands of people at hundreds of cemeteries in countless towns, cities and mere crossroads. By the 1870s, one could not live in an American town, North or South, and be unaware of the spring ritual.

But the practice of decorating graves — which gave rise to an alternative name, Decoration Day — didn’t start with the 1868 events, nor was it an exclusively Northern practice. In 1866 the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Columbus, Ga., chose April 26, the anniversary of Gen. Joseph Johnston’s final surrender to Gen. William T. Sherman, to commemorate fallen Confederate soldiers. Later, both May 10, the anniversary of Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s death, and June 3, the birthday of Jefferson Davis, were designated Confederate Memorial Day in different states.

Memorial Days were initially occasions of sacred bereavement, and from the war’s end to the early 20th century they helped forge national reconciliation around soldierly sacrifice, regardless of cause. In North and South, orators and participants frequently called Memorial Day an “American All Saints Day,” likening it to the European Catholic tradition of whole towns marching to churchyards to honor dead loved ones.

But the ritual quickly became the tool of partisan memory as well, at least through the violent Reconstruction years. In the South, Memorial Day was a means of confronting the Confederacy’s defeat but without repudiating its cause. Some Southern orators stressed Christian notions of noble sacrifice. Others, however, used the ritual for Confederate vindication and renewed assertions of white supremacy. Blacks had a place in this Confederate narrative, but only as time-warped loyal slaves who were supposed to remain frozen in the past.

The Lost Cause tradition thrived in Confederate Memorial Day rhetoric; the Southern dead were honored as the true “patriots,” defenders of their homeland, sovereign rights, a natural racial order and a “cause” that had been overwhelmed by “numbers and resources” but never defeated on battlefields.

Yankee Memorial Day orations often righteously claimed the high ground of blood sacrifice to save the Union and destroy slavery. It was not uncommon for a speaker to honor the fallen of both sides, but still lay the war guilt on the “rebel dead.” Many a lonely widow or mother at these observances painfully endured expressions of joyous death on the altars of national survival.

Some events even stressed the Union dead as the source of a new egalitarian America, and a civic rather than a racial or ethnic definition of citizenship. In Wilmington, Del., in 1869, Memorial Day included a procession of Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians and Catholics; white Grand Army of the Republic posts in parade with a black post; and the “Mount Vernon Cornet Band (colored)” keeping step with the “Irish Nationalists with the harp and the sunburst flag of Erin.”

But for the earliest and most remarkable Memorial Day, we must return to where the war began. By the spring of 1865, after a long siege and prolonged bombardment, the beautiful port city of Charleston, S.C., lay in ruin and occupied by Union troops. Among the first soldiers to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the 21st United States Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the city’s official surrender.


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Whites had largely abandoned the city, but thousands of blacks, mostly former slaves, had remained, and they conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war.

The largest of these events, forgotten until I had some extraordinary luck in an archive at Harvard, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.
After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

The symbolic power of this Low Country planter aristocracy’s bastion was not lost on the freedpeople, who then, in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged a parade of 10,000 on the track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”

The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.

After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.

The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.

Despite the size and some newspaper coverage of the event, its memory was suppressed by white Charlestonians in favor of their own version of the day. From 1876 on, after white Democrats took back control of South Carolina politics and the Lost Cause defined public memory and race relations, the day’s racecourse origin vanished.

Indeed, 51 years later, the president of the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Charleston received an inquiry from a United Daughters of the Confederacy official in New Orleans asking if it was true that blacks had engaged in such a burial rite in 1865; the story had apparently migrated westward in community memory. Mrs. S. C. Beckwith, leader of the association, responded tersely, “I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this.”

Beckwith may or may not have known about the 1865 event; her own “official” story had become quite different and had no place for the former slaves’ march on their masters’ racecourse. In the struggle over memory and meaning in any society, some stories just get lost while others attain mainstream recognition.

AS we mark the Civil War’s sesquicentennial, we might reflect on Frederick Douglass’s words in an 1878 Memorial Day speech in New York City, in which he unwittingly gave voice to the forgotten Charleston marchers.

He said the war was not a struggle of mere “sectional character,” but a “war of ideas, a battle of principles.” It was “a war between the old and the new, slavery and freedom, barbarism and civilization ... and in dead earnest for something beyond the battlefield.” With or against Douglass, we still debate the “something” that the Civil War dead represent.

The old racetrack is gone, but an oval roadway survives on the site in Hampton Park, named for Wade Hampton, former Confederate general and the governor of South Carolina after the end of Reconstruction. The old gravesite of the Martyrs of the Race Course is gone too; they were reinterred in the 1880s at a national cemetery in Beaufort, S.C.

But the event is no longer forgotten. Last year I had the great honor of helping a coalition of Charlestonians, including the mayor, Joseph P. Riley, dedicate a marker to this first Memorial Day by a reflecting pool in Hampton Park.

By their labor, their words, their songs and their solemn parade on their former owners’ racecourse, black Charlestonians created for themselves, and for us, the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.

David W. Blight, a professor of history and the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale, is the author of the forthcoming “American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era.”
Title: WSJ: Uncle Tom's Cabin
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 24, 2011, 06:45:09 PM

In April 1857, Samuel Green, a free black farmer and preacher living on Maryland's Eastern Shore, was taken from his home and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the felony of possessing a book that was, the law asserted, "calculated to create discontent among the colored population of this state." The book was called "Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly." The prosecution of Green was of course a travesty. But Maryland and the rest of the slave-holding South had reason to be scared.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was abolitionist propaganda, but it was also a brilliant novel that intertwined the stories of a host of memorable characters: the long-suffering slave Uncle Tom, the sadistic overseer Simon Legree, the defiant fugitive George Harris, the antic slave girl Topsy, the conscience-stricken slave owner Augustine St. Clare, and a teeming cast of abolitionists, Southerners and African-Americans. By presenting an array of emotive story lines—e.g., the bonding of Uncle Tom with St. Clare's saintly daughter Eva, Tom's fatal persecution at a Louisiana plantation, and the dramatic flight of the Harris family to freedom in the North—the author Harriet Beecher Stowe rendered American slavery as a soul-destroying system of grinding injustice and, for the first time in American literature, depicted slaves as complex, heroic and emotionally nuanced individuals.

The novel shocked Americans North and South not just with its heart-rending portrayal of slavery's cruelty but with its attention to such subversive themes as interracial sex, cross-racial friendship and black rage. "Wherever it goes, prejudice is disarmed, opposition is removed, and the hearts of all are touched with a new and strange feeling, to which they before were strangers," declared an editorialist in Washington's National Era newspaper.

In the first year after its release in 1852, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" sold 310,000 copies in the United States, triple the number of its nearest rivals; it sold one million copies in Britain alone. In "Mightier Than the Sword," a splendid and subtle history of the novel's effect on American culture, David S. Reynolds writes that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" "opened the way for a widespread acceptance in the North of antislavery arguments that had long been ignored or dismissed." It would also help to pave the way for the public's openness to Abraham Lincoln and to convert countless apathetic Yankees into men willing to fight for the emancipation of slaves.

View Full Image
.Mightier Than the Sword
By David S. Reynolds
(Norton, 351 pages, $27.95)
."Uncle Tom's Cabin" became a phenomenon like nothing Americans had seen before. The very term "Great American Novel" was coined, in 1868, by the Nation magazine, specifically to describe it. Literary luminaries such as Mark Twain, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Henry James showered it with praise. The radical Russian writer Nikolai Chernyshevsky drew upon the book for his own novel, "What Is to Be Done?," which in turn influenced many of his country's revolutionaries. ("Uncle Tom's Cabin," Mr. Reynolds notes, was Lenin's favorite childhood book.) Less significantly, the novel spawned a dizzying explosion of "Tomitudes," or spin-offs, including card games, cheap engravings, jigsaw puzzles, wall hangings, snuffboxes, fountain pens and eponymous products such as "Uncle Tom's Shrinkable Woolen Stockings."

Stowe's creation probably had its most lasting effect as a stage play, which was almost always performed by white actors in blackface. By 1912, it was estimated, Americans had seen at least 250,000 performances of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by hundreds, if not thousands, of specialized theater companies. With its elevating Christian message of martyrdom and redemption, the play made theaters—previously the haunt of roughs, sports and prostitutes—so respectable, Mr. Reynolds says, that managers invented the afternoon matinee to cope with the demand.

Competing troupes added song-and-dance interludes and boxing matches—the actor playing Uncle Tom would sometimes step out of the play to go a few rounds in costume. Like the novel, the play was translated into scores of languages, including Yiddish, where it was accompanied by "Hebrew melodies" and readings from the Talmud instead of the Bible. Bizarrely, some shows doubled and even tripled the actors on stage playing the lead roles. "For playgoers of the era, the more Tom characters, the better," Mr. Reynolds writes. Both Mary Pickford and Spencer Tracy began their careers in "Tom" shows.

By the mid-20th century, Stowe's story had entered the broader culture in all sorts of forms, many utterly divorced from the gravity of the original. Skits and satires referring to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" were performed by the likes of Abbott and Costello and the Little Rascals. When the 1956 film "The King and I," set in Siam and starring Yul Brynner, incorporated the hilarious rendering of a ballet titled "Small House of Uncle Thomas," it was a typically incoherent destiny for a book that, as William Dean Howells once declared, had "move[d] the whole world more than any other."

Paradoxically, the phrase "Uncle Tom" is known today as an epithet for spineless collaboration with white oppression, the antithesis of the morally heroic character for whom Stowe named her novel. "At times," Mr. Reynolds writes, "it seemed that the epithet would tear apart the whole movement for black rights," as even black leaders as bold as W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were accused of being Uncle Toms by their enemies. In "Mightier Than the Sword," Mr. Reynolds sets out to show the many and often contradictory ways in which one of the nation's most important works of literature has been understood and, alas, misunderstood. He has admirably succeeded.

Mr. Bordewich is the author of "Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America."

Title: Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
Post by: ccp on July 23, 2011, 12:36:57 PM
Part of Walter Reed or at least it was.  Walter Reed is closing I guess.

It appears to be moving its location.  In the 70s it had fascinating exhibits like the vertebra showing the bullet tract the bullet that killed James Garfield.  I haven't been their in decades but it still looks unique:
Title: The Real Paul Revere
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 29, 2011, 05:38:33 AM
Title: MLK memorial
Post by: ccp on August 23, 2011, 08:14:50 AM
Wow.  Who designed this thing?  It is the ugliest memorial I have ever seen:
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 23, 2011, 09:08:38 AM
I saw a report on TV; the American sculptor left/was fired over "creative differences" and the actual sculpting was "made in China".  Oy fg vey!!!
Title: Rothstein: Martin Luther King Memorial
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 25, 2011, 09:44:57 AM
Published: August 25, 2011
WASHINGTON — It is a momentous occasion. Into an honored array of presidents and soldiers — the founders and protectors of the nation — has come a minister, a man without epaulets or civilian authority who was not a creator of laws but someone who, for a time, was a deliberate violator of them; not a wager of war but someone who, throughout his short life, was pretty much a pacifist; not an associate of the nation’s ruling elite but someone who, in many cases, would have been physically prevented from joining it.

Lei Yixin created the 30-foot sculpture of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

That figure is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and this Sunday, when his four-acre, $120 million memorial on the edge of the Tidal Basin is to be officially dedicated, it will be adjacent to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, across the water from Thomas Jefferson’s, and along an axis leading from that founding father directly to Abraham Lincoln’s. There are few figures in American history with similar credentials who would have even a remotely comparable claim for national remembrance on the Washington Mall.

Perhaps, though, it was the presence of such company that led to the kind of memorial that now exists. There is always an element of kitsch in monumental memorials, a built-in grandiosity that exaggerates the physical and spiritual statures of their human subjects. That is one of the purposes of turning flesh into imposing stone. We can feel it when standing at Lincoln’s toe level in his Grecian memorial on the Mall. It is unavoidable, too, in the Parthenon-like gazebo that houses the towering figure of Jefferson at the edge of the Tidal Basin.

So it should be no surprise that something similar happens to Dr. King. But his statue, by the Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin, goes even further. Those of Jefferson and Lincoln are a mere 19 feet tall; Dr. King looms 30 feet up, staring over the Tidal Basin. And he isn’t decorously posed in a classical structure; he isn’t contained in an ordered space with Greek or Roman allusions. His form emerges halfway out of an enormous mound of granite so heavy that 50-foot piles had to be driven into the ground to provide support.

We don’t even see his feet. He is embedded in the rock like something not yet fully born, suited and stern, rising from its roughly chiseled surface. His face is uncompromising, determined, his eyes fixed in the distance, not far from where Jefferson stands across the water. But kitsch here strains at the limits of resemblance: Is this the Dr. King of the “I Have a Dream” speech? Or the writer of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech?

And while no memorial on the Mall has ever had an easy time of it, this one surely had its share of problems. Dr. King was a member of the country’s first black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, whose officials began the commemorative plans. Between 1996, when the fraternity’s oversight was first approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton, and Sunday’s dedication (on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “Dream” speech), the memorial’s site has shifted back and forth, its privately raised funds have become intermittently scarce, and its decisions have inspired a number of controversies.

The King family is reported to have demanded and received about $800,000 in fees from the foundation that was established to create the memorial, just for permission to use Dr. King’s words and likeness for fund-raising. Following the appointment of Mr. Lei as sculptor, the foundation was attacked for not having chosen a black American, let alone an American.

But its leaders — including Harry E. Johnson Sr., its president, and Dr. Ed Jackson Jr., its executive architect — also ran a blind international design competition that was overseen by an appointed group of architects and designers; the commission was awarded to a San Francisco firm, the ROMA Design Group.

And if you look at the early designs and guidelines, you see the nature of the original ambitions. The descriptions on the memorial’s web site,, speak of Dr. King’s emphasis on “hope and possibility,” and on his belief in “a future anchored in dignity, sensitivity and mutual respect.”

Indeed, a 450-foot curving wall offers brief quotations from Dr. King’s speeches that emphasize his almost heroic faith in the face of unrelenting opposition:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness,” he wrote in 1963, “only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

“Unarmed truth and unconditional love,” he believed, almost impossibly, would have the final word: “Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” And he could be absolutist about it. “Injustice anywhere,” he said, “is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Quotations from the late ’60s reveal hints of a different sensibility developing, perhaps out of continuing disenchantment: a transnational universalism. “Every nation,” he said, “must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole.”

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional,” he said in 1967. “We must develop a world perspective.”

Originally, ROMA called for water as a major element of the design, glistening sheets flowing over the arc of carved words as fountains murmur, creating a pastoral, meditative atmosphere. The water would also have been a direct allusion to Dr. King’s “Dream” speech and his frequent invocation of the prophet Amos (“let justice run down like waters ...”). For budgetary reasons, though, almost all these plans were abandoned, leaving just two small fountains near the entrance, but there was something profound and touching in the original vision.

That initial idea is now also pushed aside by a far less subtle conceit that takes center stage. You enter the memorial from Independence Avenue by walking through a narrow passage between two granite mounds. They arise out of the landscape without any context, and it becomes clear that the corridor between them was created by pushing out a slice of rock — the same rock that now sits at the center of the memorial, on the far side of which is carved the looming torso of Dr. King.

It turns out that these towering mounds at the entrance are supposed to represent something from the “Dream” speech: a “mountain of despair.” The slab is inscribed: “Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

But do these mounds of granite, which are given an almost artificial appearance with their cartoonish contours — do they evoke anything at all like a “mountain of despair”? And the unattractive slice supposedly pushed into the center of the memorial: is that really a “stone of hope”? Certainly not, judging from the expression on Dr. King’s face.

The metaphor is not one of Dr. King’s best, anyway, but to build an entire memorial out of it, and then to do so in a way that makes no real sense, is baffling. Moreover, the original context of the line from the speech is quite different. Dr. King, after the demonstration in Washington, was going back to the South, his faith intact.

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope,” he proclaimed. “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

It is an active phrase; the stone is hewn from the mountain. Here it is just the opposite; the stone of hope is sliced away and apparently pushed to the center. Dr. King is pushed along with it.

As for the portrait of Dr. King, it seems to have been based on a photograph by Bob Fitch that shows him with crossed arms, engrossed in thought. But here, the crossing of arms is a sign of something else: determination, perhaps. Or command. Monumental, not human.

And the mound’s isolation from any other tall objects, its enormity and Dr. King’s posture all conspire to make him seem an authoritarian figure, emerging full-grown from the rock’s chiseled surface, at one with the ancient forces of nature, seeming to claim their authority as his. You don’t come here to commune with him, let alone to attend to the ideas the memorial’s Web site insists are latent here: “democracy, justice, hope and love.” You come to tilt your head back and follow; he, clearly, has his mind elsewhere.

It is difficult to know precisely why all this went wrong, or why this memorial never alludes to a fundamental theme of Dr. King’s life, involving equal treatment for American blacks. It strives for a kind of ethereal universality, while opposing forces pull it in another direction.

The failure may also have a larger cause. Many recent memorials proliferating along the Mall have trivialized or mischaracterized their subjects. The World War II memorial seems almost phony, with its artificial allusions to antiquity; the Roosevelt Memorial diminishes that president and even implies that he was a pacifist (featuring his words “I hate war”) instead of a wartime leader responsible for building up the “arsenal of democracy.” Why shouldn’t Dr. King, too, be misread — turning the minister into a warrior or a ruler, as if caricaturing or trying too hard to resemble his company on the Mall?
Title: Museum would have been far smarter
Post by: ccp on August 25, 2011, 12:44:59 PM
It would have made more sense to have a museum dedicated to civil rights portraying it from slavery to the present thereby encompassing the whole struggle and the (millions) who (not just the one guy) did not struggle in vain. 

It would have been a learning experience for those too young to know and a reminder for those who are old enough to remember.

Instead we got a politically correct monstrosity.

This statue stands for appeasement in my view.  Not a stark reminder of a shameful part of our history.
Title: Re: Museum would have been far smarter
Post by: bigdog on August 26, 2011, 04:21:36 AM
It would have made more sense to have a museum dedicated to civil rights portraying it from slavery to the present thereby encompassing the whole struggle and the (millions) who (not just the one guy) did not struggle in vain. 

It would have been a learning experience for those too young to know and a reminder for those who are old enough to remember.

Instead we got a politically correct monstrosity.

This statue stands for appeasement in my view.  Not a stark reminder of a shameful part of our history.
Title: thanks BD
Post by: ccp on August 26, 2011, 08:41:17 AM
The only time I was in Memphis was at a Gilder conference.  :cry:  Those tech boom days were much happier for me.
I don't think this museum was there yet.  As part of the Gilder tour we did see the Elvis Presley museum. :lol:

Something like this makes sense to be in DC (as well).  It makes mores sense than a holocaust museum frankly since it is directly associated with our nation's history.
Title: WSJ: Five one term presidents
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 27, 2011, 05:53:55 PM
John Adams
By David McCullough (2001)

John Adams was an unsuccessful president, thanks to his grumpy personality and mediocre political skills. But he was a man of unshakable principle. He had been preceded in office by George Washington, who served two terms and declined to serve a third. When Adams was defeated for re-election by Thomas Jefferson in 1800, it was a moment of truth for the young democracy: Would President Adams surrender the reins of power? He did—gracefully. For that reason alone we are in Adams's debt. And if he was a poor president, he was an immensely important Founding Father whose life illuminates the world he lived in and did so much to shape. In this biography, David McCullough does a splendid job of telling his story. At 650 pages "John Adams" is not a word too long.

John Quincy Adams
By Paul C. Nagel (1997)

It is not easy to be the son of a great man, and John Quincy Adams never quite escaped the long shadow of his remarkable parents, John and Abigail. Depression stalked him all his life. But Adams also had great advantages, being his father's son. He accompanied him to Europe as a child, where he learned the arts of diplomacy firsthand while becoming the master of seven languages. Like his father's presidency, his single term (1825-29) was inconsequential. But under James Monroe he had been a great secretary of state, and he wrote the ambitious doctrine of national expansion named for Monroe. Adams kept a detailed diary from age 11 to the end of his long life. The long manuscript, a remarkable window into the inner world of this complex, driven man and never published in more than incomplete form, is used extensively by biographer Paul C. Nagel to bring Adams to vivid life.

View Full Image

Library of Congress
The 11th president.
.A Country of Vast Designs
By Robert W. Merry (2009)

No one-term presidencywas as successful or as significant as James K. Polk's. During his tenure in office (1845-49), the country almost doubled in size and became established as a Pacific power. Texas was annexed; the Oregon Territory was peacefully divided with Britain; and Mexico, defeated in war, was forced to cede what is now the American Southwest. None of it would have happened without Polk's singular determination and great political talents. With his health failing, Polk declined to run for re-election; he died three months after leaving office, at age 53. In "A Country of Vast Designs," biographer Robert W. Merry gives us Polk in full but also details the tangled politics of the 1840s—an era that is a historical black hole for many people, illuminated here by an expert light.

Chester Alan Arthur
By Zachary Karabell (2004)

Except for Abraham Lincoln, presidents in second half of the 19th century were a forgettable bunch, none more so than Chester Arthur, who never even aspired to the office. As Zachary Karabell notes in his concise but evocative biography, Arthur—a New York lawyer and Republican patronage politician—became the vice-presidential nominee in 1880 only to balance the ticket with James Garfield in a badly fractured convention. Then, just six months into Garfield's term, an assassin's bullet (and bungling doctors) put Arthur in the White House. Though he had risen on the wings of patronage and had been a defender of the spoils system, he forced through the Pendleton Act, which began the transformation of the politically corrupt federal bureaucracy into the modern civil service. His furious former allies denied him nomination to a full term in 1884, but even Mark Twain, no friend of politicians, thought Arthur had been a good president.

The Shadow of Blooming Grove
By Francis Russell (1968)

Few presidents have come to the White House with a thinner résumé (one term in the Senate from Ohio) or performed so ineffectually as Warren Harding. Yet with "The Shadow of Blooming Grove," Francis Russell succeeds in making Harding's story a fascinating one. The "shadow" was the persistent rumor—half believed by Harding himself—that his great-grandmother had been black, no small matter in early 20th-century America. He had a gift for public speaking, was good-looking in a presidential way, and was an amiable fellow, fond of golf, poker, and whiskey. Harding was also a hands-off president, to put it mildly, but he accomplished some good things, thanks mainly to excellent cabinet appointments, including Herbert Hoover (Commerce) and Andrew Mellon (Treasury). But scandals, both political and sexual, destroyed Harding's reputation after his death in 1923 from what appears to have been congestive heart failure. He was two years into his term and in the middle of a cross-country trip, called the "Voyage of Understanding," that he hoped would reconnect him with voters.

—Mr. Gordon is the author of "Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt" (revised edition, 2010).
Title: Nixon's resignation
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 14, 2011, 06:30:32 AM
Including some footage before he goes on the air:
Title: George Washington's Farewell Address
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 21, 2011, 08:45:18 AM
George Washington’s Farewell Address
Monday, Sep 19, 2011 at 5:17 PM EDT

Delivered September 19, 1796

Friends and Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rival ships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the Union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured ? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the twenty-second of April, I793, is the index of my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

Title: Truman--We may not see his like again
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 02, 2011, 12:16:13 PM
Sorry, no citation for this one:

 Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.
When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them. When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, "You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale.."

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don 't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise." As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food. Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale. (sic. Illinois )

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!
Title: Myths of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 31, 2011, 09:56:11 AM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on October 31, 2011, 03:24:30 PM
Interesting.  Amazing how history is rewritten by the liberals in the media and academia.  "oh how JFK had kept his cool" during the missle crises.

I wonder if that was before or after the nights he was having sexual liasons with an East German spy.

What a joke.

Was it GM who pointed out the JFK was the blunderer who drove his PT boat right into the path of a Japanese cruiser.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: G M on October 31, 2011, 03:31:53 PM
Interesting.  Amazing how history is rewritten by the liberals in the media and academia.  "oh how JFK had kept his cool" during the missle crises.

I wonder if that was before or after the nights he was having sexual liasons with an East German spy.

What a joke.

Was it GM who pointed out the JFK was the blunderer who drove his PT boat right into the path of a Japanese cruiser.

Not I. I'd point out that if JFK were running today, he'd be slammed by the left for wanting to lower tax rates.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on November 01, 2011, 03:49:16 AM
This is a completely different version than I have always heard, including from a professor of mine who is a former CIA historian.

In particular, the missles out of Turkey is an odd piece of contention because I have always heard that the US was planning to remove them anyway.

Also, the "MAP" doesn't explain the CIA's continued, although often odd and questionable, efforts to remove Castro. 
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 01, 2011, 08:11:37 AM

If I read it correctly and remember correctly, it was the Russians asserting that about the Turkish based missiles-- not knowing that they were to be taken out anyway (no opinion on whether that assertion is true btw).

As for the CIA breaking that MAP understanding , , , well , , , that would not be the first time it broke an agreement, would it?  :lol:

Anyway, I probably should have posted the piece with an accompanying comment by me that I was simply offering a different perspective than the story line with which I was already familiar.
Title: turkey pardon
Post by: bigdog on November 23, 2011, 08:45:24 AM
Title: Re: turkey pardon
Post by: G M on November 23, 2011, 09:47:55 AM

This just in....

Tony Rezko's attorneys are attempting to have him deemed a turkey.....
Title: The History and Legacy of Thanksgiving
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 23, 2011, 04:02:01 PM
The History and Legacy of Thanksgiving

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." —Psalm 100:4-5
Thanksgiving, as introduced by European explorers and settlers in the "New World," was a time set aside specifically for the purpose of giving thanks to our Creator for His manifold blessings.

The earliest record of a thanksgiving in America is 1541 by Spanish explorer Coronado at Palo Duro Canyon in what is now Texas. French Protestant colonists at Charlesfort (now Parris Island, South Carolina) held a thanksgiving service in 1564. In 1607, the Jamestown settlers held thanksgiving at Cape Henry, Virginia, and there are many other records of such hallowed observances.

The first call for an annual Thanksgiving was at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, in 1619, when Captain John Woodlief and 38 settlers aboard the ship Margaret, proclaimed, "Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacion in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

The first "harvest feast," however, was at Plymouth Colony in 1621, followed by a greater combined feast of Thanksgiving in 1623. Due to the fact that most history books following the War Between the States were written by Northern historians, it is that iconic event which is most directly associated with the current traditions for our national Day of Thanksgiving.

President Ronald Reagan often cited the Pilgrims who celebrated the First Thanksgiving as our forebears who charted the path of American freedom. He made frequent reference to John Winthrop's "shining city upon a hill."

As Reagan explained, "The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free."

Who were these "freedom men," and how did they eventually blaze the path of true liberty?

They were Calvinist Protestants who rejected the institutional Church of England, believing that worshipping God must originate freely in the individual soul, without coercion. Suffering persecution and imprisonment in England for their beliefs, a group of these separatists fled to Holland in 1608. There, they found spiritual liberty in the midst of a disjointed economy that failed to provide adequate compensation for their labors, and a dissolute, degraded, corrupt culture that tempted their children to stray from faith.

Determined to protect their families from such spiritual and cultural dangers, the Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620, sailing for a new world that offered the promise of both civil and religious liberty. After an arduous journey, they dropped anchor off the coast of what is now Massachusetts.

On 11 December 1620, prior to disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they signed the Mayflower Compact, America's original document of civil government. It was the first to introduce self-government, and the foundation on which the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were built. Plymouth Colony's Governor, William Bradford, described the Compact as "a combination ... that when they came a shore they would use their owne libertie; for none had power to command them."

Upon landing, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service and quickly turned to building shelters. They committed all their belongings to a "comone wealth." Under harrowing conditions, the colonists persisted through prayer and hard work, but the Winter of 1621 was devastating and only 53 of the original party survived.

However, with the help of the indigenous "Indians" in the region, the summer of 1621 was productive as recorded by Bradford in his diary: "They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion."

In addition to their regular expressions of reverence and thanksgiving to God, by the Autumn of 1621 the Pilgrims had enough produce to hold a three day "harvest feast." That feast was described in the journal of Edward Winslow: Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

Endeavoring to improve the production at Plymouth Plantation, in 1622 Bradford implemented a collectivist policy, which almost destroyed the rest of the Plymouth settlement.

Bradford wrote that to increase production, he allotted each family a plot of land, and mandated that "all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" must be forfeited to a common storehouse in order that "all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock."

In theory, Bradford thought the colony would thrive because each family would receive equal share of produce without regard to their contribution.

Unfortunately, then as always, collectivism only works in theory. It is antithetical to human nature, and destined to fail, as Plato's student Aristotle observed in 350BC: "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it." But to this day, many still fail to grasp the "tragedy of the commons."

After abysmal results in 1622, Bradford realized that his collectivist plan had undermined the incentive to produce, noting that it "was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort." The women complained that being forced into servitude for others was "a kind of slavery," and some men had become "servants to the Indians" for a mere "capful of corn." Others had perished.

Bradford recorded in his journal that the Colony leaders "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, (I) (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."

They decided to trade their collectivist plan for a free market approach, and in 1623, Bradford wrote, "This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any other means the Governor or any other could use. ... Women went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn. Instead of famine now God gave them plenty and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many. ... Any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day."

Property ownership and families freely laboring on their own behalf replaced the "common store," but only after their ill-advised experiment with communism nearly wiped out the entire settlement.

The Colony celebrated a much greater Harvest and Thanksgiving Day in 1623.

After the Pilgrims were given liberty and incentive to be industrious, the Colony thrived, and by 1624, production was so abundant that the Colony exported corn back to England.

And for generations since, to the extent men have been set at perfect liberty to establish free enterprise, to produce goods and services without having profits seized for redistribution, our nation has thrived.

Liberty's BountyDuring the American Revolutionary War the Continental Congress designated days of thanksgiving each year. The First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving was made in 1777:

"FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.

Of that proclamation, Samuel Adams wrote to another Declaration signer, Richard Henry Lee, noting the specificity of the language that, "the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and join . . . their supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ."

In 1789, after adopting the Bill of Rights to our Constitution, among the first official acts of Congress was approving a motion for proclamation of a national day of thanksgiving, recommending that citizens gather together and give thanks to God for their new nation's blessings. George Washington issued that proclamation on October 3, 1789:

The first Thanksgiving Day designated by the United States of America was proclaimed by George Washington on October 3, 1789:

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

"And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

"Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789."

Then-governor Thomas Jefferson followed with this 1789 proclamation in Virginia: " appoint ... a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God ... to [ask] Him that He would ... pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would ... spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue."

Governor John Hancock proclaimed, " appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise ... to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us ... [by giving to] us ... the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. And [to] present our supplications ... that He would forgive our manifold sins and cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth."

Thanksgiving celebrations were irregularly proclaimed in the years that followed until the War Between the States. After 1863, presidents issued annual proclamations of Thanksgiving.

Norman Rockwell, 1943In 1941, with World War II on the horizon, the Senate and House approved the fourth Thursday of November as a National Day of Thanksgiving, perpetuating the observance annually.

Closing his farewell address in 1989, Ronald Reagan asked, "And how stands the city on this winter night?" Contemplating our blessings of liberty this Thanksgiving, more than two decades after President Reagan left office, how stands the city on our watch?

My fellow Patriots, never in the history of our country has there been such an acute, coordinated and vicious assault upon our rights and upon the forms of government established to protect those rights. From individuals, to state governments, to federal institutions initiated at the dawn of our Constitution, nothing, absolutely nothing, is sacred to the current liberal hegemony seeking to dispense with our Constitution.

But take heart, for as George Washington wrote in the darkest days of our American Revolution, "We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."

Of such exertions, Washington wrote, "It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

So it is that on Thursday of this week, Thanksgiving Day, we are called to pause and take respite in order to acknowledge the divine intervention of our Creator throughout the history of this great nation; in order to recommit ourselves to obeisance of His will; in order to express our gratitude and give Him all thanks and praise for the bounty which He has bestowed the United States of America -- land of the free, home of the brave, that shining city on the hill; and in order to all the more humbly implore that He protect us and grant us much favor in our coming struggle to re-establish Rule of Law over rule of men.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)

"America has much for which to be thankful. The unequaled freedom enjoyed by our citizens has provided a harvest of plenty to this Nation throughout its history. In keeping with America's heritage, one day each year is set aside for giving thanks to God for all of His blessings. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, cwe should reflect on the full meaning of this day as we enjoy the fellowship that is so much a part of the holiday festivities. Searching our hearts, we should ask what we can do as individuals to demonstrate our gratitude to God for all He has done. Such reflection can only add to the significance of this precious day of remembrance. Let us recommit ourselves to that devotion to God and family that has played such an important role in making this a great Nation, and which will be needed as a source of strength if we are to remain a great people." Ronald Wilson Reagan

This is the genuine spirit of Thanksgiving.

I humbly thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as editor and publisher of The Patriot Post. On behalf of your Patriot team and our National Advisory Committee, I wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and God's blessings to you and your family.

If you have the means, please take a moment to promote Liberty by supporting our Patriot Annual Campaign today.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Libertas aut Mortis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, PatriotPost.US

Take the Thanksgiving Quiz

Title: Ed Rothstein: The How of Japanese Internment but not all of the Whys
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 11, 2011, 04:46:13 PM
Museum Review
 The How of an Internment, but Not All the Whys
 -articleLarge.jpg] Yone Kubo Collection; Lynn Donaldson for The New
 York Times
 Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center From left, Boy Scouts at the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming during World War II; the view today.
Published: December 9, 2011
 POWELL, Wyo. — In a region of inspiring landscapes, this certainly isn’t one of them. If you stand near where the barracks once were, not far from the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center that opened last summer, this barren expanse, with its craggily eccentric mountain in the distance, could almost seem cruelly mocking.
Displays at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center. More than 10,000 people were relocated to the camp there.

 A sign at the center lists individuals from the camp who volunteered to serve in the U.S. military during World War II.

Scenes from the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming in World War II: typing inside one of the barracks.
Children polishing shoes at the Heart Mountain internment camp.
A scene from a Christmas program.
 Imagine you are James Osamu Ito, son of a Japanese immigrant, possessor of a degree in soil science from the University of California, Davis, and owner of a 29-acre farm in California. In 1942 you are told by the United States military that you must abandon your land, your machinery and your home, and board a train, emerging here in the wintry cold. You are assigned to a drafty, tar-papered barracks where you must live out the war that your nation is waging against the land of your ancestors.
Could any place be more different from the verdant California farmland? Could anything be more dispiriting than the rows of wooden shacks where families are crammed in? And could anything be more unsettling than the guard towers or the barbed wire winding round 740 acres?
By 1943, 10,000 people were living here in the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, about a third of them first-generation Japanese immigrants known as Issei (who were not American citizens), and the rest Nisei, second-generation Japanese-Americans. For a while, Heart Mountain was Wyoming’s third-largest city. And along with nine other “internment camps” — all in isolated regions where there could be no fear of transfer of information or contraband — this was where people of Japanese heritage were sent in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, by Executive Order 9066<>. The concern was that they might constitute a fifth column that would subvert the American war effort.
It was a relocation of more than 110,000 people, most of them American citizens. There was no selective screening. Even now, after an official apology to the victims by the United States government, after the payment of $1.65 billion in reparations and after the writing of enough histories and memoirs to fill a bookcase, the episode remains shocking and bewildering. How did it happen and why?
Until now, one of the internment camps, Manzanar in California<>, has had the most public attention; it is run by the National Park Service and includes an exhibition. But a museum at Heart Mountain (awkwardly dubbed an “interpretive learning center”) is welcome. The sparseness of the landscape and its relative isolation from competing attractions — it is a half-hour from Cody and 60 miles from Yellowstone National Park — focus your attention.
It took 15 years of fund-raising by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation<>, and the acquisition of 50 acres (together with 74 owned by the federal government) before this 11,000-square-foot center could be constructed. Its two joined buildings are meant to recall the camp’s barracks; there is also a reconstructed guard tower.
Only one building from the camp remains, a brick structure once part of its hospital; not even an original barrack can be seen here, though one is installed at the Japanese American National Museum<> in Los Angeles. So the impact must come from the exhibition itself, which is designed by Split Rock Studios<> of Minnesota. It is meant to honor those whose lives were so overturned, explain how the internment happened, give some sense of camp life and suggest lessons for the future.
The museum is not uniformly successful in these ambitions, but its impact is still considerable. Wrenched out of ordinary life, stripped of many constitutional rights and placed in an unforgiving environment, Heart Mountain’s inhabitants created an alternative universe. Land was farmed, shoes repaired, a newspaper printed and sports teams formed. Remarkably, residents also enlisted in, or were drafted into, the armed forces. Some residents were even imprisoned after resisting the draft, a case examined in a book by the legal scholar Eric L. Muller<>, a program committee director at the museum.
Primarily, this is a museum shaped by survivors’ recollections. In oral histories<> they recount being forced from their homes, tell of having to eat apart from their parents in the mess hall, or describe the humiliation of unpartitioned toilets. (The museum’s restrooms hint at the experience with mirrored stalls.) Japanese culture, we learn, taught forbearance and discipline. And pride is justly taken. In this museum, history is told in the first person. It is about “us”; its actors are “we.” This is a communal narrative about shared injustices and triumphs.
But this is also one of the museum’s weaknesses. “We” and “us” also create limits. The experience becomes central. How, though, is it to be interpreted? What is its context?
One problem is that the internment camp doesn’t easily fit into familiar categories. Heart Mountain certainly looked like a prison. Yet we also read of its newspaper editors working in Cody and of other jobs held outside the camp. How common was such employment?
Internment actually had fairly large loopholes. In the 10 internment camps, more than 4,000 students left to attend college<>. In addition, if a family found a place to live in another part of the country outside the West Coast or other militarily important areas, they were free to move; 30,000 did. At least one company, in New Jersey, even recruited employees here. These peculiar mixtures of liberties and restrictions give the internment a surreal cast.
A Congressional commission<> that examined the camps in the 1980s endorsed the explanation, now standard, that they were a result of wartime hysteria and racism. For example, at the exhibition we learn of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1925 assertion that the mixing of American and “Asiatic blood” would have “unfortunate results.” There was also envy of the Japanese-American economic success.
But wartime internment was more the rule than the exception. During World War I many European countries incarcerated citizens of opposing nations; the United States, too, imprisoned “enemy aliens,” including Germans who were not citizens.
During World War II<> Japanese-Canadians were put in camps. In Britain, even Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany were interned as enemy aliens on the Isle of Man. What made the situation of the Japanese in the United States more complicated is that while the Issei, forbidden to become naturalized, were classified as enemy aliens whose internment was legal, their American children, the Nisei, were citizens. But surely the other examples of wartime internment would help us understand why Executive Order 9066 was widely supported.
It would help, too, to have a clearer understanding of the prewar Japanese-American population, which is now portrayed as homogenously assimilationist. But we know that 1930s Japan was a racist, militant society, convinced of the emperor’s divinity, and that a considerable number of Nisei were sent there to study.
“Loyalty to the emperor,” we learn at the Japanese American National Museum, was a cherished value for the Issei. Even the use of terms like Issei and Nisei shows careful attention to Japanese connections. In addition, American military and F.B.I. reports<> describe a number of Japanese-American organizations on the West Coast that were financially and ideologically devoted to the mother country and its policies.
All of this would have amplified suspicions. In addition, the government had decoded dispatches from Japanese agents referring to their plans and successes. On May 9, 1941, one from Los Angeles read: “We have already established contacts with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area.”
Two days later, a dispatch from Seattle said, “We are securing intelligences concerning the concentration of warships within the Bremerton Naval Yard”; Japanese residents were relocated from that area in 1942.
Moreover, the Japanese were known for similar espionage elsewhere, including the Philippines. A treasonous example of assistance from residents of Japanese descent also occurred just after Pearl Harbor, in which a couple on a remote Hawaiian island tried to help a downed Japanese pilot escape. The threat was palpable: a Japanese submarine had sunk American ships and shelled a California oil field.
I am not suggesting that such factors justified the relocations<>. Almost all of the internees were surely innocent, and most deserved the rights of citizens. The policy was racially tinged and hysterical in its sweep. But at the very least, the context demonstrates that the relocation was a response — an extreme one — to a problem. There was a geographical rationale, not simply a racial one. This context also helps explain the peculiar ambiguities in the camps’ regulatory mixture of anxiety, ruthlessness and flexibility.
It should also affect contemporary conclusions. “Could an injustice like Heart Mountain happen again?” the museum asks. “It’s all too easy in times of crisis and war to look for an ‘outsider’ scapegoat.” It then suggests that this is why Japanese-American groups spoke out on behalf of American Muslims after 9/11. But such linkages surely deserve more scrutiny.
What is beyond question is that whatever the context, nothing can lessen the policy’s tragic consequences — the violation of principle, the loss of property, the inability of internees to pick up their old lives, the suicides, the hatreds, the lost possibilities — and they are all powerfully commemorated here.
 The Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center is in Powell, Wyo.;
A version of this review appeared in print on December 10, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: The How of an Internment, but Not All the Whys.
Title: Jonah Goldberg and TR
Post by: ccp on December 12, 2011, 08:38:35 AM
I put this here because Jonah brings up some history points I did not realize.  TR was a Progressive after he was a Republican!
How this guy got his mug on Mt. Rushmore beats the heck out of me.  If I undertand croney capitalism/fascism correctly then that is EXACTLY what TR was all about.  I knew I could not like a man for cackling with laughter joy and glee after shooting a Cuban in the belly running up San Juan Hill.  Now I don't like him for his politics.   Could anyone imagine G Washington gleeful after shooting another man?   The joy of murder? :oops:
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 12, 2011, 12:44:56 PM
Glenn Beck made this point about TR being a progressive frequently and with great vigor due to Jonah Goldberg's influence.  JG appeared on the show at least once, and maybe more. He regularly appears on the panel of the Bret Baier Report where IMHO he handles himself quite well.  I have his book, "Liberal Fascism"
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on December 12, 2011, 01:04:06 PM
"Glenn Beck made this point about TR being a progressive frequently and with great vigor due to Jonah Goldberg's influence. "

I missed that.
I recall the part about Woodrow Wilson who was of course from Princeton.   I guess the same liberal place than as now.
Title: Some costs of WW2
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 02, 2012, 05:02:13 AM
The following came to me without citations:

Below is an excellent summary of the effort required in WWII. It focuses on the American side of things, but the British, Germans and Japanese expended comparable energy and experienced similar costs. Just one example for the Luftwaffe; about 1/3 of the Bf109s built were lost in non-combat crashes. After Midway, the Japanese experience level declined markedly, with the loss of so many higher-time naval pilots. This piece is worth saving in hard copy.
Amazing WWII Aircraft Facts
Most Americans who were not adults during WWII have no understanding of the magnitude of it.
This listing of some of the aircraft facts gives a bit of insight to it.

276,000 aircraft manufactured in the US .
43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat.
14,000 lost in the continental U.S. 

The US civilian population maintained a dedicated effort for four years, many working long hours seven days per week and often also volunteering for other work.  WWII was the largest human effort in history.
Statistics from Flight Journal magazine.
---- The staggering cost of war.
THE PRICE OF VICTORY (cost of an aircraft in WWII dollars)
B-17       $204,370.     P-40       $44,892.
B-24       $215,516.     P-47       $85,578.
B-25       $142,194.     P-51       $51,572.
B-26       $192,426.     C-47       $88,574.
B-29       $605,360.     PT-17     $15,052.
P-38         $97,147.     AT-6       $22,952.

From Germany 's invasion of Poland Sept. 1, 1939 and ending with Japan 's surrender Sept. 2, 1945 --- 2,433 days
From 1942 onward, America averaged 170 planes lost a day.

How many is a 1,000  planes?  B-17 production (12,731) wingtip to wingtip would extend 250 miles.  1,000 B-17s carried
2.5 million gallons of high octane fuel and required 10,000 airmen to fly and fight them.

9.7 billion gallons of gasoline consumed, 1942-1945.
107.8 million hours flown, 1943-1945.
459.7 billion rounds of aircraft ammo fired overseas, 1942-1945.
7.9 million bombs dropped  overseas, 1943-1945.
2.3 million combat sorties, 1941-1945 (one sortie = one takeoff).
299,230 aircraft accepted, 1940-1945.
808,471 aircraft engines accepted, 1940-1945.
799,972 propellers accepted, 1940-1945.

Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik                                  36,183

Yakolev Yak-1,-3,-7, -9                               31,000+

Messerschmitt Bf-109                                  30,480
Focke-Wulf Fw-190                                      29,001
Supermarine Spitfire/Seafire                        20,351
Convair B-24/PB4Y Liberator/Privateer       18,482
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt                          15,686
North American P-51 Mustang                     15,875
Junkers Ju-88                                              15,000
Hawker Hurricane                                        14,533
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk                                 13,738
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress                         12,731
Vought F4U Corsair                                      12,571
Grumman F6F Hellcat                                  12,275
Petlyakov Pe-2                                             11,400
Lockheed P-38 Lightning                              10,037
Mitsubishi A6M Zero                                    10,449
North American B-25 Mitchell                        9,984
Lavochkin LaGG-5                                         9,920
Note: The LaGG-5 was produced with both water-cooled (top) and air-cooled (bottom) engines.
Grumman TBM Avenger                                9,837
ell P-39 Airacobra                                        9,584
Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar                                    5,919
DeHavilland Mosquito                                   7,780
Avro Lancaster                                              7,377
Heinkel He-111                                              6,508
Handley-Page Halifax                                     6,176
Messerschmitt Bf-110                                    6,150
Lavochkin LaGG-7                                         5,753
Boeing B-29 Superfortress                            3,970
Short Stirling                                                   2,383

Sources:  Rene Francillon,  Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific war; Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe Diaries;  Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes; Wikipedia.
According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes --- inside the continental United States.  They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.

Think about those numbers. They average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month---- nearly 40 a day.  (Less than one accident in four resulted in totaled aircraft, however.)
It gets worse.....
Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign climes.  But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.

In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England .  In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe .
Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed.  The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas .
On  average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded.  Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned.  More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands.   Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.

US manpower made up the deficit.  The AAF's peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.
The losses were huge---but so were production totals.  From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain , Australia , China and Russia .  In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined.  And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.
However, our enemies took massive losses.  Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month.  And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours.  The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.
Experience Level:
Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.
The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s.   The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.
A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type.  Many had fewer than five hours.  Some had one hour.
With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat.  The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a throttle.  Go fly `em." When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition.   The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, "You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target. 
A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die."  He was not alone.   Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft.  Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade:  of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941.   All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school.
In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat.  The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours.   Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139.  All were Allison powered.
Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive.  The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively-- a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate was less than 2.
The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.
The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion.  Only ten percent had overseas experience.  Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month "safety pause" rather than declare a "stand down", let alone grounding.

The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone.   But they made it work.
Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators.  The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War.  And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone.  Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel --- a stirring tribute to the AAF's educational establishments.
Cadet To Colonel:
 It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders.  That was the record of John D. Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941.  He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 20 in P-40s.  He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group --- at age 24.
As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions. 
By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training.  At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.
At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types. 
Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft. 
The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.

Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq .  But within living memory, men left the earthin 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless.


Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven't courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others. -- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English Author
Title: Rothstein: The World as America dreamed it
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 02, 2012, 06:00:46 AM
second post of the morning:
The World as America Dreamed It
Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Great American Hall of Wonders, including Ernest Griset’s “Far West,” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington through Jan. 8. More Photos »
Published: July 27, 2011
WASHINGTON — The first thing we see on entering the new exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum here is a life-size painting of a formally dressed, graciously welcoming, aged gentleman. He is lifting a heavy red drape and gesturing as if inviting us to visit the marvels within. Beyond the curtain we glimpse walls lined with hundreds of glass cases, each containing stuffed birds. We see visitors strolling past, engaged in contemplation or struck with amazement. We also spot part of a mastodon skeleton, discovered in 1801 by the same man who lifts the curtain.
 Slide Show
‘The Great American Hall of Wonders’
He is the image’s painter, Charles Willson Peale. And he is welcoming us into the museum he created in early-19th-century Philadelphia.
Peale’s painting, “The Artist in His Museum” (1822), is meant to serve a similar welcoming function in this immensely rich exhibition, “The Great American Hall of Wonders.” Each gallery echoes the painting with its own red stage curtain pulled aside. And in some ways this show is as much a curiosity cabinet as Peale’s museum must have been, though that institution, an ancestor of the natural-history museums that took shape later in the century, contained thousands of objects, while this exhibition offers just 161.
But what an unusual and provocative collection this is. There are paintings and drawings by John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Thomas Moran and Samuel F. B. Morse. An 1825 sculpture of a classically draped woman holding a water wheel represents the waterworks on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. An improbably compact mesh of gears on a wooden frame is an 1879 model of a paper-bag-making machine. Two near-naked blacksmiths hammer an anvil in Eadweard Muybridge’s famous photographic sequence. We see images of buffalo herds, Niagara Falls’ rushing torrents, loggers perched inside a giant notch in a doomed California redwood.
Claire Perry, an independent curator who specializes in 19th-century American cultural history, has presented almost too much for us to absorb easily; a visit here should be supplemented with her extensive essays in the companion catalog. The show is ambitious, schematic, eclectic, energetic, wandering, argumentative. And maybe in that way too it is a bit like the subject defined in the exhibition’s subtitle: “Art, Science, and Invention in the 19th Century.”
Ms. Perry suggests that Peale, in creating his early museum, was defining a national project. His collection was meant to show that in the generations following the death of the founders, the United States would be taking on the great task of invention. (Thankfully he ultimately decided against displaying the preserved bodies of the founders.) This show expands on his project. “The United States,” we read, “began with an act of imagination.” The country saw itself as a “Great Experiment for promoting human happiness.” And 19th-century Americans saw themselves as “an inventive people.”
So this exhibition is about the American project in the 19th century, drawing on the Smithsonian’s collections but also on the holdings of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. That office, we learn, was established by President Andrew Jackson in 1836, becoming a museum, a “temple of invention,” as well as a record-keeping institution, offering displays that attracted 100,000 visitors a year by the mid-19th century.
Some of those offerings were revolutionary. We see the original 1837 wooden model of Samuel F. B. Morse’s telegraph transmitter as well as one of Thomas Alva Edison’s 1880 light bulbs. But that paper-bag-making machine is also on display, partly to demonstrate that female inventors were at work, though we don’t learn anything about its creator, Margaret E. Knight, or about the machine. Another minor contraption is represented in the drawing of an 1849 device used for “Buoying Vessels Over Shoals,” making up in provenance what it lacks in importance; its inventor was Abraham Lincoln.
Invention also became a familiar instrument of democratic culture, allowing for the mass production of once-expensive items. An English visitor to the United States in 1844 remarked, with some surprise, that “in every dell of Arkansas, and in cabins where there was not a chair to sit on, there was to be sure a Connecticut clock.”
In the catalog we read that Peale’s son (portentously named Rembrandt Peale), who took over his father’s museum as well as his ambitions, noted how intimately the arts and sciences were intertwined. He pointed out that Robert Fulton was a portrait painter (represented here by drawings for his 1809 patent application for a steamboat engine) and that Morse was an artist. (We see here his doodles of a man’s head, the profile fitting between the teeth of a gear wheel.)
Albert Bierstadt is revealed as a closet inventor; we see his 1896 patent drawing of an “Expanding Railway Car” — a luxurious, oversize train car as comfortable as a home running on a pair of parallel tracks — something he must have dreamed up on his long journeys into the Western wilderness.
Such journeys, Ms. Perry suggests, are also part of the story. The United States was a realm of vast spaces and enormous resources. And the show suggests that those resources were used with more enthusiasm than wisdom. A gallery is devoted to the buffalo (and its demise), to Niagara Falls (and to ideas of harnessing its power) and to the American West’s immense trees (which were almost cavalierly cut down, though they were “ill-suited for construction,” and often used “for grapevine stakes and trays for drying raisins”). There are galleries too about clocks and about guns.
We cannot help be aware that the exhibition’s appraisal of American inventiveness is heavily qualified. The gun and locomotive destroy the buffalo; the clock turns work into regimented misery; commerce demolishes expanses of natural beauty. “We are the heirs of the 19th century’s successful experiments,” the show’s opening panel declares, “as well as the ones that went terribly awry.”
Yet the exhibition’s emphasis is on experiments gone awry. As a result the American 19th century is primarily seen through the spectacles of European Romanticism. In England and Europe the Industrial Revolution was considered a fiery inferno destroying the pastoral landscape; the proliferating machine was in opposition to all that was natural. And along the way the body politic fell ill as well. (Some of these notions appear in Jez Butterworth’s “Jerusalem,” now on Broadway.)
But there was something quite different about much 19th-century American culture. The Industrial Revolution was not repelled but embraced; it was often seen not as an intrusion but as an offering of possibility. It brought miseries but also innovations. It did not overturn the natural world, it seemed to coexist with it.
There are paintings here, for example, showing newly built railway lines puffing smoke. Those engines appear not as threats but as features of the pastoral landscape. The exhibition has an explanation: “Nineteenth-century artists, scientists, and inventors joined hands in creating the railroad system of the United States — the largest in the world. While engineers and mechanical innovators refined the technologies of steam locomotion, the nation’s image makers helped to elicit consensus among the citizenry about what railroads were and where they would take the nation.” This treats such images as forms of promotion or propaganda. That was not necessarily the case. A different view of the machine and its possibilities can be sensed in much American literature and art.
The contemporary tendency is to overlook such qualifications, even to suggest that what went awry in the treatment of the buffalo, or the natural landscape, was not an accidental aspect of 19th-century American culture but its defining characteristic.
Sometimes this exhibition seems to concur. Yet those failings are neither unique to American culture nor to the 19th century. Some American Indian tribes would drive herds of buffalo off cliffs in a hunt, which was hardly a model of sustainability. Europe also had ancient forests that were felled over the centuries. And the technological transformation of the natural world, since antiquity, has a long history of unanticipated consequences. The distinctiveness of 19th-century American invention is not in what went awry but in what succeeded.
This does not diminish the need for environmental concern, but as the exhibition says, “Knowing where we have come from may show us where we are headed.”
The exhibition also hopes to inspire contemporary ideas. A wall panel points out, “Today’s urgent social and environmental challenges call for a great national brainstorm, a collaborative imagining of enduring solutions” that may come from “the transformative power of American inventiveness.”
Yet here, too, might a caveat be inserted? For what we see in the transformative power in the 19th century is not a “collaborative imagining” but a largely individualized enterprise, creating a wealth of enduring and unpredictable innovations. And that still seems like one of American culture’s particular distinctions.
“The Great American Hall of Wonders” is on view through Jan. 8 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington;
Title: WSJ: Attack ads in American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 05, 2012, 05:41:52 AM
There are only two ways to win an election: Persuade people to vote for you or persuade them to vote against your opponent.

And while negative campaigning is routinely decried, it is also routinely practiced and has been since nearly the beginning of politics in this country. The reason is simple enough—it usually works. As Newt Gingrich discovered in Iowa, negative TV ads can drive down poll numbers alarmingly fast.

The negative ads these days are often tough, but they're nowhere near as vicious as early examples, when opponents were routinely "drenched in calumny," to use Illinois Sen. Everett Dirksen's memorable phrase about the ordeals of Richard Nixon.

George Washington was twice elected president unanimously, but the election of 1796, between Vice President John Adams and former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, was a mudfest. The candidates themselves did not campaign at all, as was then the custom, but their surrogates in the party press knew few restraints.

Benjamin Franklin Bache (the grandson of his namesake) referred to the short and dumpy Adams in his newspaper, Aurora, as "His Rotundity," whose appearance was so much "sesquipedality of belly." Federalist newspapers returned fire, accusing Jefferson, an admirer of the French Revolution, of being a blood-thirsty Jacobin, an atheist, and a coward for having fled Monticello in the face of advancing British troops during the Revolutionary War, when he was governor of Virginia.

The ad hominem attacks got worse in the 19th century. In 1828, people working for John Quincy Adams published handbills attacking his opponent, Andrew Jackson, and Jackson's wife and mother.

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Newt Gingrich is only one in a long list of negative campaign targets.
.Rachel Jackson's divorce from her first husband was, unknown to her, not yet final when she married Jackson, making the marriage technically bigamous. "Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?" one handbill asked. Another claimed that Jackson's mother had been a prostitute for British troops during the Revolution. Rachel Jackson died shortly after the election of 1828. President Jackson regarded her death as resulting from the vituperation heaped upon her.

Truth has always been optional in negative campaigning. In 1840, when Democratic President Martin Van Buren ran for re-election against Whig Party candidate William Henry Harrison, Van Buren was accused of being an aristocrat, living the high life in the White House, eating off golden plates, while the country suffered through a terrible depression. In fact, Van Buren was the son of a poor tavern keeper and had to work his way up.

Harrison was derided by opponents as a "log cabin and hard cider" man, but the Whig Party happily adopted the insult, portraying their candidate as a man of the people. Actually, Harrison was born at Berkeley, one of Virginia's grandest plantation houses, the son of a Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

It wasn't the only time that negative campaigning backfired. North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole's successful opponent in 2008, Kay Hagan, saw her lead double after the Dole campaign ran ads depicting her (falsely) as an atheist.

In the election of 1884, when it was found out that Grover Cleveland had been paying child support for a child born out of wedlock, Republicans gleefully began chanting "Ma! Ma! Where's my pa? Gone to the White House. Ha! Ha! Ha!" But Cleveland's honest taking of responsibility was viewed by many as a plus. And when a supporter of Cleveland's opponent, James G. Blaine, described the Democrats as the party of "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion," it cost Blaine Catholic votes in New York, a state that he narrowly lost. Had he carried it, Blaine would have won the election.

Perhaps the most famous negative ad in modern political history was in 1964. President Lyndon Johnson was already running well ahead of Sen. Barry Goldwater on Sept. 7 when what is remembered as the "Daisy ad" ran in the middle of the NBC Monday Night Movie. It showed a 4-year-old girl in a field picking the petals off a daisy as she counts them, rather inaccurately. When she got to nine, a male voice takes over, counting back down, as though for a missile launch. The little girl turns to look at the sky and the camera zooms in on her eye. When the counting reaches zero, there is a blinding flash of light and the mushroom cloud of a nuclear bomb.

Lyndon Johnson's voice then says, "These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." Another voice then said, "Vote for President Johnson on November 3. The stakes are too high for you to stay home."

The ad, sharply criticized, was pulled after that single airing. But it was frequently replayed in news and conversation programs. So the Johnson campaign got credit for pulling the ad while still having it widely disseminated. It was devastatingly effective because it played into the idea, already being discussed, that the sometimes bellicose Goldwater could not be trusted to keep the Cold War cold. When Walter Mondale ran similar ads against Ronald Reagan 20 years later, they were completely ineffective because people were comfortable with Reagan's stewardship of the nuclear arsenal. Negative ads can intensify an existing perception of a candidate. They can seldom create one.

The presidential election of 2012 is likely to be unusually contentious even by recent American standards. The negative ads will probably start early and run often. Some of them will, undoubtedly, be unfair, tendentious, intellectually dishonest, mean-spirited and downright ugly. And some of them are likely to be very effective. Let's hope they will not stoop to the personal insults or smearing of innocent individuals as they so often did in the early 19th century.

Mr. Gordon is the author of "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power" (HarperCollins, 2004).

Title: Frances Folsom Cleveland First lady at 21!
Post by: ccp on January 25, 2012, 04:39:12 PM
The only President to have gotten maried IN the White House.  At age 47 he married the 21 yo daughter of one of his  law partners.   He was kind of looked after her when the father died and mentored her through school.  At some point it got romantic.    What is intersting is this was during the height of the Victorian Age.  She was apparantly a well liked first lady, both times he was elected.  And she held many a house warmings for the gentry:
Title: John and Julia Tyler (or John and Bo Derek?)
Post by: ccp on January 28, 2012, 08:42:10 AM
Reading the recent article about John Tyler's (President 1841- 1844 and born nine years before George Washington's  birth) grandson  giving his opinion on the present President and the Repubs I looked up John Tyler.  I note he met a 24 yo. woman who along with her father and sister went on the steamship Princeton during which a cannon exploded and killed the father.  Both the President and the young woman were "at a safe distance away when the explosion occured".   The gentleman that he must have been  :wink: Tyler consolled her and soon married her.  He was 54 yo.

****Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889)
Second Wife President John Tyler (1790-1862)
William Henry Harrison (9th President) was a soldier. Born in Berkely, Virginia, he knew early that he wanted a military life and he pursued it vigorously. Assigned to the Northwest Territories as a lieutenant, he engaged the hostile Indians on many occasions. In 1811 his forces were attacked near the Tippecanoe River (today, West Lafayette, Indiana) and although Harrison's command had casualties of 190 they repelled the attack. This incident and others earned him a national reputation as a great Indian fighter but the site of the first battle stuck and through the remainder of his life he was known as "Old Tippecanoe."

The local citizens sent him off to congress and he later served as Governor of the Ohio Territory. In 1840, the Whig Party nominated him for President. Needing balance to attract southern votes he looked to ex-US Senator and past Governor John Tyler of Virginia, a strong states rights advocate, as his running mate. The opposition party tried to mock the ticket by deriding the campaign slogan, "Old Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," but Harrison and Tyler won and took office on March 4, 1841.

One month later Harrison died. The politicians were stunned. Even Tyler's own party, The Whigs, didn't like him and soon expelled him from the party but Tyler was not dismayed. When his enemies called him an "outlaw" he responded by renaming his Virginia plantation "Sherwood Forest." But Tyler was distracted by the illness of his wife. Her condition grew grave and in September, 1841 she died in the White House.

Julia Gardiner was born on Long Island, New York; a debutante at fifteen, she was the "belle of the ball" and the society pages quickly dubbed her "The Rose of Long Island."
Late in 1841 she and her family visited Washington for the winter social season and there, through arrangements made by Dolley Madison for a tour of the White House, she met the new widower, President John Tyler, who took more than a casual interest. Later, he wrote letters to her and she answered them.

The following year Tyler invited her father and family back to Washington and while there he arranged a tour of the Navy's first power driven and newest ship which was in port at Annapolis. Onboard, observing a demonstration of the ship's guns, her father was killed by an explosion but Julia and the President were a safe distance away and were not harmed.

Tyler offered his condolences and comfort and soon gained Julia's consent to become engaged. On a late Sunday evening Tyler secretly slipped from the White House and made his way to a rendezvous in New York City. There, on June 26, 1844, he and Julia were wed, the first President to marry while in office. He was 54, she 24.

Washington was surprised but not stunned over the news. The elopement caused more gossip than did the age factor. She was First Lady for the last eight months of his term and in 1845, failing re-election, the Tylers retired to Virginia where, over the next fifteen years, they added significantly to the Tyler family with seven children joining the eight Tyler had with his first wife. When the last daughter, Pearl, was born in 1860, two Tyler sons, Robert (44) and John (41), were older than his wife.

As the south began secession Tyler accepted a position on the governing body of the new Confederate States of America but he died in 1862, before the group held it's first meeting. Julia supported the political views of her husband and defended states rights and the right to own slaves. Fearing retaliation from the north for her views, she collected the family papers and took them to a Richmond bank for safe-keeping. This turned out to be a mistake because during the war the bank was destroyed and the papers lost.

Battles raged throughout Virginia and finally she fled to New York where she worked secretly and voluntarily for the Confederacy throughout the remainder of the war. By the end of the conflict her activities had drawn a lot of attention and suspicion in Washington, but she was never arrested. However, the defeat of the south left her without money or means of support and her plantation, Sherwood Forest, had been virtually destroyed.

In 1880 Congress voted her a $1,200 annual pension, ten years after providing for Mary Todd Lincoln. When Garfield was assassinated in September, 1881, Congress had second thoughts and voted $5,000 per year for Mrs. Garfield, Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs. Polk, and Mrs. Tyler. With the pension, she was able to live comfortably and spent her last years in Richmond where she died in 1889. She is buried there with her husband.

Philosophos Historia ****

Title: Rothstein: Lincoln at Ford's Theater
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 10, 2012, 11:07:44 AM
Published: February 10, 2012
¶WASHINGTON — When we last left Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, nearly three years ago, he was imagined sitting here in the flag-draped presidential box, moments before a bullet was shot into his head. John Wilkes Booth, the actor turned assassin, was also imagined, leaping onto the stage, injuring his foot, theatrically proclaiming triumph over tyranny and racing into the alley, where a getaway horse waited. Through a newly installed exhibition space we also learned of the events preceding that murder, including the Civil War and all its traumas. And we were given a glimpse of the fate of the conspirators who derailed history.
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Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
A statue of John Wilkes Booth at the Ford's Theater.
¶The renovations and accompanying exhibition, which made their debut in 2009, were the first parts of a $60 million transformation of Ford’s Theater into a major Lincoln museum complex operated in conjunction with the National Park Service. Since then 750,000 people have visited annually. Many, after leaving the theater, have crossed the street to the Petersen House, as if following in the footsteps of the men who carried Lincoln that night in 1865 to the room in which he died.
¶And now? As the theater’s director, Paul R. Tetreault, recognized, the drama, even in museum form, needed a final act. It has arrived: on Sunday, Lincoln’s Birthday, the last stage in the theater’s expansion will be unveiled as part of a public open house. Another open house will follow on Feb. 20; on Feb. 21 the center will formally open, and timed tickets will become available.
¶So now the tale’s conclusion will be reached in a $25 million, 10-story building next to the house in which Lincoln died and across from the theater where he was shot: the Center for Education and Leadership.
¶Wait a minute, you might think. Education and leadership? The Civil War is barely over. Lincoln is dead. The nation is in shock. How do we get from there to a “center for education and leadership?”
¶I have questions about that, but before exploring the quirks of contemporary commemoration, it is worth paying tribute to what has been accomplished. Lincoln has long been at the heart of the capital city: the National Mall is an affirmation of the Union he championed, the Lincoln Memorial on one end, and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial on the other. But there was, until recently, no extensive exhibition here about Lincoln and his times. Ford’s Theater, Mr. Tetreault explained, used to be a brief stopping point.
¶Now, with these exhibitions, Lincoln has found a home in a place best known for his death. With the historian Richard Norton Smith as adviser, and displays designed by Split Rock Studios and Northern Light Productions, Mr. Tetreault has given visitors a grounding in the history of Lincoln’s time, a sense of the melodrama of his murder and an affirmation of Lincoln’s influence.
¶The biography is omitted — for that you should visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., which turns his life into a series of special effects and tableaus — and his ideas could be more fervently explored, but there may be no better survey of Lincoln than the one offered here.
¶The emphasis is not on artifacts, though you can see the ring of keys found on Booth’s body and other objects. But the exhibition succeeds because of a careful narrative, well-chosen images and informative touch screens; the new completes the old.
¶After you leave a reproduction of the deathbed in the Petersen House, you enter the new building, as if emerging into the Washington streets the morning after Lincoln’s death. Church bells are tolling; broadsheets are plastered on walls.
¶The panel text makes the atmospherics even more vivid. We learn that when Edwin Booth, the Shakespearean actor, heard what his brother had done, he said, “It was just as if I was struck on the forehead with a hammer.”
¶Mary Todd Lincoln was so mad with grief that White House pallbearers went barefoot, so sounds would not distress her. She neither attended the Washington service nor accompanied the coffin on its 1,700-mile railway journey to Springfield for burial.
¶That journey is evoked in a gallery space resembling the train car that carried the coffin. And touch-screen monitors give us the details: seven million people viewed the body where it was shown along the way, or congregated along the tracks; 300,000 in Philadelphia alone.
¶There were hints of Lincoln’s legacy in the tributes, and signs of unfinished business too. In Washington the 22nd United States Colored Infantry headed the procession; in New York the City Council refused to allow blacks to march at all. Its ruling was overturned by Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton.
¶In counterpoint to the funeral train, we get a survey of Booth’s flight through the Virginia marshes. Parts of his diary are transcribed onto touch screens. Booth was bewildered by the manhunt: “I am here in despair. And why? For doing what Brutus was honored for.”
¶He is tracked to a tobacco barn that is set ablaze and is shot by an overzealous soldier; his co-conspirators are hanged. Reconstruction begins, falters and ends.
¶In a panel about Lincoln’s vice president, the Democrat Andrew Johnson, we see how quickly the world Lincoln opposed oozed back into place. As president, Johnson vetoed civil rights legislation, approved of “Black Codes” limiting the freedom of former slaves, and wrote, “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am president, it shall be a government for white men.”
¶Was Booth, then, ultimately triumphant? He certainly altered the shape of Reconstruction. As a result, the exhibition points out, by the 19th century’s end, Lincoln was recalled differently from the way he had been just after the war. At first he was remembered as a liberator, undermining the culture of enslavement; later memorials emphasized instead his devotion to the Union.
¶But we also learn of Lincoln’s afterlife and nearly universal appeal. President Dwight D. Eisenhower kept a complete set of Lincoln’s writings in the Oval Office. Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that “it was time” for Democrats to “claim Lincoln as one of our own.” The only portrait that the Chinese leader Sun Yat-sen kept in his home was one of Lincoln, while Mao directed his followers to memorize the Gettysburg Address. Here too is Lincoln’s popular heritage, in Lincoln Logs, cartoons, knickknacks.
¶In the new building’s atrium lobby is a 34-foot-high tower that seems constructed from 7,000 books about Lincoln (executed in aluminum). Actually about 200 titles repeat, but the point is made.
¶Why this influence? That is the question addressed in the Leadership Gallery, which houses a temporary exhibition that highlights the center’s educational approach, with its two floors of classrooms and meeting facilities. Lincoln, we read, “has inspired politicians, businessmen and community activists across the globe.” Why? “Perhaps because throughout his life — and during America’s worst crisis — Lincoln championed effective principles of leadership: Courage. Integrity. Empathy and tolerance. Ideals of equality. Creativity and innovation.”
¶Displays are devoted to those themes. Integrity, for example, is reflected in an 1854 Lincoln speech: “Stand with anybody that stands right.” And we are challenged with a contemporary “dilemma”: your boss intends to lay off most of the workforce and has confessed to you that he has fabricated examples of worker negligence, but your job will be spared. What do you do?
¶A historical model is provided: Janusz Korczak, a Jewish physician who was director of the Jewish orphanage in Warsaw when the Nazis took power. When the orphans were forced into the ghetto, he declined an opportunity to escape. He even joined his children as they were herded onto trains traveling to Treblinka.
¶But is this even remotely comparable to the “dilemma”? The contemporary situation requires sifting moral and practical choices — leave the job, inform your colleagues — not comforting terrified children headed to slaughter.
¶And what has this to do with Lincoln? Was he a protester or civil rights activist like other models of leadership featured here: Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and Gandhi? Hardly. During the war’s first years, he was a flawed leader gaining experience.
¶As for racial relations, an intelligent drama commissioned by the theater and now being performed there, “Necessary Sacrifices,” by Richard Hellesen, imagines the two meetings Lincoln had with Frederick Douglass, suggesting how complex the president’s views were. And in some respects Lincoln was fervently intolerant: he could abide no attempt to split the Union. He saw unity as proof that the American experiment could long endure.
¶Why couldn’t a more profound examination of Lincoln be at the heart of the educational program instead of platitudes? As Ford’s Theater has shown when answering to the better angels of its nature, Lincoln transcends contemporary homilies about activism and leadership. So, in balance, does Ford’s Theater.
Title: USS William D. Porter
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 22, 2012, 02:34:05 PM

From November 1943, until her demise in June 1945, the American destroyer
'William D. Porter' was often hailed - whenever she entered port or joined other
Naval ships with the greetings: "Don't shoot, we're Republicans!'
For a half a century, the US Navy kept a lid on the details of the
incident that prompted this salutation. A Miami news reporter made the
first public disclosure in 1958 after he stumbled upon the truth while
covering a reunion of the destroyer's crew. The Pentagon reluctantly
and tersely confirmed his story, but only a smattering of newspapers
took notice.

In 1943, the Willie D as the Porter was nicknamed, accidentally fired a
live torpedo at the battleship Iowa during a practice exercise. As if
this weren't bad enough, the Iowa was carrying President Franklin D.
Roosevelt at the time, along with Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, and
all of the country's W.W.II military brass. They were headed for the
Big Three Conference in Tehran, where Roosevelt was to meet Stalin and

Had the Porter's torpedo struck the Iowa at the aiming point, the last
60 years of world history might have been quite different. The USS
William D Porter (DD-579) was one of hundreds of assembly line
destroyers built during the war. They mounted several heavy and light
guns, but their main armament consisted of 10 fast-running and accurate
torpedoes that carried 500-pound warheads. This destroyer was placed in
commission on July 1943 under the command of Wilfred Walker, a man on
the Navy's fast career track.

In the months before she was detailed to accompany the Iowa across the
Atlantic in November 1943, the Porter and her crew learned their trade,
experiencing the normal problems that always beset a new ship and a
novice crew.

The mishaps grew more serious when she became an escort for the pride
of the fleet, the big new battleship Iowa. The night before they left
Norfolk, bound for North Africa, the Porter accidentally damaged a
nearby sister ship when she backed down along the other ship's side and
her anchor tore down the other ship's railings, life rafts, ship's boat
and various other formerly valuable pieces of equipment. The Willie D
merely had a scraped anchor, but her career of mayhem and mishaps had

Just twenty four hours later, the four-ship convoy, consisting of Iowa
and her secret passengers, the Willie D, and two other destroyers, was
under strict instructions to maintain complete radio silence. Since
they were going through a known U-boat feeding ground, speed and
silence were the best defense.

Suddenly, a tremendous explosion rocked the convoy. All of the ships
commenced anti-submarine maneuvers. This continued until the Porter
sheepishly admitted that one of her depth charges had fallen off her
stern and exploded. The 'safety' had not been set as instructed.
Captain Walker was watching his fast track career become side-tracked.

Shortly thereafter, a freak wave inundated the ship, stripping away
everything that wasn't lashed down. A man washed overboard and was
never found. Next, the fire room lost power in one of its boilers.

The Captain, at this point, was making reports almost hourly to the
Iowa about the Willie D's difficulties. It would have been merciful if
the force commander had detached the hard luck ship and sent her back
to Norfolk. But, no, she sailed on.

The morning of 14 November 1943 dawned with a moderate sea and pleasant
weather. The Iowa and her escorts were just east of Bermuda, and the
president and his guests wanted to see how the big ship could defend
herself against an air attack. So, the Iowa launched a number of
weather balloons to use as anti-aircraft targets. It was exciting to
see more than 100 guns shooting at the balloons, and the President was
proud of his Navy.

Just as proud was Admiral Ernest J King, the Chief of Naval Operations;
large in size and by demeanor, a true monarch of the sea.

Disagreeing with him meant the end of a naval career. Up to this time,
no one knew what firing a torpedo at him would mean. Over on the Willie
D, Captain Walker watched the fireworks display with admiration and

Thinking about career redemption and breaking the hard luck spell, the
Captain sent his impatient crew to battle stations. They began to shoot
down the balloons the Iowa had missed as they drifted into the Porter's

Down on the torpedo mounts, the crew watched, waiting to take some
practice shots of their own on the big battleship, which, even though
6,000 yards away, seemed to blot out the horizon. Lawton Dawson and
Tony Fazio were among those responsible for the torpedoes. Part of
their job involved ensuring that the primers were installed during
actual combat and removed during practice. Once a primer was installed,
on a command to fire, it would explode shooting the torpedo out of its
Dawson, on this particular morning, unfortunately had forgotten to
remove the primer from torpedo tube #3. Up on the bridge, a new torpedo
officer, unaware of the danger, ordered a simulated firing. "Fire 1,
Fire 2," and finally, "Fire 3." There was no Fire 4 as the sequence was
interrupted by an unmistakable whooooooshhhhing sound made by a
successfully launched and armed torpedo. Lt H. Steward Lewis, who
witnessed the entire event, later described the next few minutes as
what hell would look like if it ever broke loose.

Just after he saw the torpedo hit water on its way to the Iowa and some
of the most prominent figures in world history, Lewis innocently asked
the Captain, 'Did you give permission to fire a torpedo?' Captain
Walker's reply will not ring down through naval history, although words
to the effect of Farragut's immortal 'Damn the torpedoes' figured
centrally within.

Initially there was some reluctance to admit what had happened, or even
to warn the Iowa. As the awful reality sunk in, people began racing
around, shouting conflicting instructions and attempting to warn the
flagship of imminent danger.

First, there was a flashing light warning about the torpedo which
unfortunately indicated the torpedo was headed in another direction.

Next, the Porter signaled that the torpedo was going reverse at full

Finally, they decided to break the strictly enforced radio silence. The
radio operator on the destroyer transmitted "'Lion (code for the Iowa),
Lion, come right." The Iowa operator, more concerned about radio
procedure, requested that the offending station identify itself first.

Finally, the message was received and the Iowa began turning to avoid
the speeding torpedo.

Meanwhile, on the Iowa's bridge, word of the torpedo firing had reached
FDR, who asked that his wheelchair be moved to the railing so he could
see better what was coming his way. His loyal Secret Service guard
immediately drew his pistol as if he was going to shoot the torpedo. As
the Iowa began evasive maneuvers, all of her guns were trained on
the William D. Porter. There was now some thought that the Porter was
part of an assassination plot.

Within moments of the warning, there was a tremendous explosion just
behind the battleship. The torpedo had been detonated by the wash
kicked up by the battleship's increased speed.

The crisis was over and so was Captain Walker's career. His final
utterance to the Iowa, in response to a question about the origin of
the torpedo, was a weak, "We did it."

Shortly thereafter, the brand new destroyer, her Captain and the entire
crew were placed under arrest and sent to Bermuda for trial. It was the
first time that a complete ship's company had been arrested in the
history of the US Navy.

The ship was surrounded by Marines when it docked in Bermuda, and held
there several days as the closed session inquiry attempted to determine
what had happened.

Torpedo man Dawson eventually confessed to having inadvertently left
the primer in the torpedo tube, which caused the launching. Dawson had
thrown the used primer over the side to conceal his mistake. The whole
incident was chalked up to an unfortunate set of circumstances and
placed under a cloak of secrecy.

Someone had to be punished. Captain Walker and several other Porter
officers and sailors eventually found themselves in obscure shore
assignments. Dawson was sentenced to 14 years hard labor.

President Roosevelt intervened; however, asking that no punishment be
meted out for what was clearly an accident.

The destroyer William D. Porter was banished to the upper Aleutians. It
was probably thought this was as safe a place as any for the ship and
anyone who came near her.

She remained in the frozen north for almost a year, until late 1944,
when she was re-assigned to the Western Pacific. However, before leaving
the Aleutians, she accidentally left her calling card in the form of a
five-inch shell fired into the front yard of the American Base
Commander, thus rearranging his flower garden rather suddenly.

In December, 1944, the Porter joined the Philippine invasion forces and
acquitted herself quite well. She distinguished herself by shooting
down a number of attacking Japanese aircraft. Regrettably, after the
war, it was reported that she also shot down three American planes.
This was a common event on ships, as many gunners, fearful of
kamikazes, had nervous trigger fingers.

In April, 1945, the destroyer Porter was assigned to support the
invasion of Okinawa. By this time, the greeting "Don't Shoot, We're
Republicans" was commonplace and the crew of the Willie D had become
used to the ribbing.

But the crew of her sister ship, the USS Luce, was not so polite in its
salutations after the Porter accidentally riddled her side and
superstructure with gunfire.

On 10 June, 1945, the Porter's hard luck finally ran out. She was sunk
by a plane which had (unintentionally) attacked it from underwater. A
Japanese bomber made almost entirely of wood and canvas slipped through
the Navy's defense.

Having little in the way of metal surfaces, the plane didn't register
on radar. A fully loaded kamikaze, it was headed for a ship near the
Porter, but just at the last moment veered away and crashed alongside
the unlucky destroyer. There was a sigh of relief as the plane sunk out
of sight, but then it blew up underneath the Porter, opening her hull
in the worst possible place.

Three hours later, after the last man was off board, the Captain jumped
to the safety of a rescue vessel and the ship that almost changed world
history slipped astern into 2,400 feet of water. Not a single soul was
lost in the sinking. After everything else that happened, it was almost
as if the ship decided to let her crew off at the end.
Written by Kit Bonner, a noted Naval Historian.
Title: Morris: 1940, when Brits, Libs, and Dems, chose the Rep candidate
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 03, 2012, 08:28:45 AM
Not infrequently, e.g. here :lol:  Dick Morris gets well outside his lane as a pollster, but the talk is interesting so I post it.
Title: JFK's planned 11/22 speech
Post by: bigdog on March 12, 2012, 07:16:44 PM

"Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help."
Title: Oswald did it
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 18, 2012, 09:07:40 PM
For decades now, I have been amongst the doubters of the Warren Commission's findings on the assassination of President Kennedy.

I have changed my mind due to a fascinating piece on the Military channel tonight.  Extremely well done, bringing new technology to bear, using military snipers, and intelligent and scientific re-enactiments; my doubts (time for Oswald's shot from the 6th floor of the book repository, the direction of the blood splatter, etc) are laid to rest.
Title: Re: Oswald did it
Post by: G M on March 19, 2012, 02:07:49 PM
For decades now, I have been amongst the doubters of the Warren Commission's findings on the assassintation of President Kennedy.

I have changed my mind due to a fascinating piece on the Military channel tonight.  Extremely well done, bringing new technology to bear, using military snipers, and intelligent and scientific re-enactiments; my doubts (time for Oswald's shot from the 6th floor of the book repository, the direction of the blood splatter, etc) are laid to rest.

Quite a few years ago, the International Homicide Investigators Assn. addressed this topic and came to the same conclusion.
Title: WSJ: Among the powers of the earth
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 22, 2012, 06:43:25 AM

The Declaration of Independence speaks of America taking its place among "the independent powers of the earth." As it turned out, a few such powers played a role in the American Revolution—think only of France's support for the rebellious colonists. The declaration also speaks of "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind." Those opinions, Eliga H. Gould argues, would direct the course of the young nation after independence. In "Among the Powers of the Earth," Mr. Gould, a history professor at the University of New Hampshire, shows how the dynamics of international relations transformed the Atlantic world as the United States entered it and thereafter helped to define the country itself. His shrewd analysis offers a valuable perspective on American history during a formative era.

Mr. Gould rightly emphasizes the importance of law—both national and international—to sovereignty. He argues that "the drive to be accepted as a treaty-worthy nation in Europe" shaped the early Republic at least as much as republican ideals. The United States accepted the norms of international treaties and diplomatic custom—the obligation to respect the persons and property of foreign subjects, for instance, or to exercise military force within the emerging laws of war. Just as important, the new nation worked to bring the territories it claimed for itself under legal authority. Sovereignty had to be exercised as well as recognized.

, , ,

Before America's independence, the imperial Atlantic world had operated as an extension of Europe, in the form of colonies and trading networks. But the terms of governance, Mr. Gould notes, were sometimes weak. Competing local authorities, including those of indigenous peoples, laid claim to rights and jurisdictions, and colonists often acted as a law unto themselves. Even European authorities treated their overseas realms as places where European norms did not always apply. In certain matters, distance gave colonial governments latitude to manage their own affairs.

Among the Powers of the Earth
By Eliga H. Gould
(Harvard, 301 pages, $45)

Starting in the 1750s, however, Britain began to regulate colonial trade more closely and, with various reforms, to tighten its control over the colonies. Americans became more accountable to British treaties in Europe, especially those that defined maritime and commercial law. New England merchants, for example, were asked to pay taxes and to refrain from unlicensed trade with the colonies of other European powers.

The new policy followed a clear logic. Unless Britain enforced the navigation acts (i.e., the laws that governed external trade) and other regulations, it left its New World colonies increasingly connected to the foreign powers with which they traded. A British pamphleteer logically warned that, if the American colonies evaded the navigations acts, they would be "no longer British Colonies, but Colonies of the Countries they trade to."

The people within the colonies most affected by such reforms—particularly merchants and ship captains who preferred the looser regulations of the past—resented the emerging system of metropolitan control. They began to lead colonial opposition, and their agitation soon won support from a population angered by the increasing pressure from London. As we know, tensions escalated into open revolt in the 1770s.

John Dickinson warned the Continental Congress that declaring independence would leave Americans strangers amid the "states of the world" and braving "the storm in a skiff of paper." After independence, Americans themselves faced the problems of governance that had prompted Britain's attempts at imperial reform. Despite America's military victory and the formal recognition granted by the 1782 Treaty of Paris, Britain and other European states did not completely accept American sovereignty. The unsettled condition of the new nation under the Articles of Confederation raised questions about where sovereignty resided and whether agreements bound the individual states.

Thus foreign policy drove efforts to "secure a more perfect union." John Jay argued that an effective federal government could better meet treaty obligations and thereby secure the rights of sovereignty that would make independence real. In 1787, the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation. In the next two decades, the United States would assert control over the territories of the Louisiana Purchase and would annex Florida. By exercising its sovereignty, and not just securing its independence, the new nation was able to claim a place among the powers of the earth.

Scholars of European history have long argued for the primacy of foreign affairs in driving state formation and shaping politics. But American observers—scholars and generalists alike—have rarely applied this idea to the history of their own country before 1900. America in its formative stages is usually viewed apart from the international system—as a promised land separated from the rest of the world by two oceans and shaped by its own lofty ideals. But in fact, as Mr. Gould shows, America came into its own only by claiming full membership in the community of nations. Mr. Gould is right to give greater attention to this neglected theme in American history.

Mr. Hay, a historian at Mississippi State University, is the author of "The Whig Revival, 1808-1830."

Title: Morris: President Andrew Johnson
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 24, 2012, 10:40:50 AM
As is his wont, well outside his lane, Dick Morris on President Andrew Johnson
Title: Don't mess with my boy
Post by: ccp on March 24, 2012, 12:20:06 PM
says this lady of Dick Morris' rant:
Title: Johnson family gossip
Post by: ccp on March 24, 2012, 12:26:54 PM
A distant relative of Abe Lincoln married Eliza to Andrew Johnson (long before Abe was President) when she was 16 and he 18:
Title: Articles of Confederation
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 26, 2012, 08:26:43 PM
Title: Was slavery the cause of the Civil War?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 07, 2012, 07:06:11 AM
Title: Patriot's Day
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 19, 2012, 04:17:19 PM

Alexander's Essay -- April 19, 2012
On the Web:
Printer Friendly:
PDF Version:


Patriots' Day: Sons of Liberty Then and Now


'Tis the Season for a Patriot Spring

"Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme
Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble
Actions -- The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us. ... Let us therefore
animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman
contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on
earth." --George Washington, 1776

Today, April 19th, is the 237th anniversary of Patriots' Day, marking the opening
salvo of the American Revolution and the beginning of the greatest experiment in
human Liberty.

A quick search of the Obama White House website reveals not a single reference to
this most notable date in the history of our Republic -- not that I expected to find
any acknowledgment of such. I am certain that the current statist regime occupying
the Executive Branch would not want to promote this formative event distinguished by
a call to arms ( ) to
turn back a growing tide of tyranny.

Try though Barack Hussein Obama might to ignore it that is precisely what occurred
on this day in 1775, when a small band of citizen Patriots challenged the authority
of the most powerful government in the history of man. Take a moment to revisit the
events of that day, and share with contemporary citizens who may never have had an
introductory lesson in civics, the story of how a small group of American Patriots
irrevocably altered the course of history toward a new bearing of Liberty.

In December of 1773, the Sons of Liberty, a group of Boston "radicals" acting under
the leadership of Samuel Adams
), galvanized a rebellion against authoritarian colonial rulers, through the simple
act of dumping tea into Boston Harbor -- a protest of a small three pence tax levied
by the British. That event was immortalized as the "Boston Tea Party," and was the
inspiration for the rising rebellion in this era called the Tea Party Movement
( ).

Sixteen months after the Boston Tea Party, the first Patriots' Day began with the
horseback gallop of Paul Revere and William Dawes, just after midnight, en route to
Concord, Massachusetts. Their mission was to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that
British troops were coming to arrest them and seize their weapons. The British
understood that to render neutral any resistance to tyranny, they must first disarm
the people and remove from them the palladium of the liberties

Revere was captured but Dawes and Samuel Prescott, who had joined them along the
way, escaped and continued toward Concord. Dawes later fell from his horse, but
Prescott, who knew the area well enough to navigate rapidly at night, made it to
Concord in time to warn the Sons of Liberty.

At dawn, farmers and laborers, landowners and statesmen alike, gathered to confront
the British, pledging through action what Thomas Jefferson would later frame in
words as "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor." Thus began the great
campaign to reject the predictable albeit tyrannical order of the state and to
embrace the difficult toils of securing individual Liberty. It was this as-yet
unwritten pledge by militiamen in the Battles of Lexington and Concord
( ) that would
delineate the distinction between Liberty and tyranny in Colonial America.

Why would the first generation of American Patriots forgo, in the inimitable words
of Samuel Adams, "the tranquility of servitude" for "the animating contest of

The answer to that question defined the spirit of American Patriotism at the dawn of
the American Revolution, and to this day and for eternity, that spirit will serve as
the first line of defense against tyranny.

In the first months of the American Revolution, English author and lexicographer
Samuel Johnson, a Tory loyalist, wrote that American Patriots' quest for liberty was
nothing more than "the delirious dream of republican fanaticism" which would "put
the axe to the roots of all government." Johnson concluded famously, "Patriotism is
the last refuge of a scoundrel."

In the same year Johnson founded the now-popular pastime of denigrating American
Patriotism, Founder Alexander Hamilton was aptly defining its Foundation: "To grant
that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to
regulate the actions of his creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of
nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and
government, appears to a common understanding altogether irreconcilable. Good and
wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed
that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has
constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all
mankind, prior to any human institution whatever. This is what is called the law of

Hamilton continued: "Upon this law depends the natural rights of mankind: the
Supreme Being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and
beatifying that existence. He endowed him with rational faculties, by the help of
which, to discern and pursue such things, as were consistent with his duty and
interest, and invested him with an inviolable right to personal Liberty, and
personal safety. The Sacred Rights of Mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old
parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole
volume of human nature, by the Hand of the Divinity itself; and can never be erased
or obscured by mortal power."

Our Founders declared "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," and they constituted this
affirmation in order to "secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our

Unlike King George's partisans and generations of authoritarians since, American
Patriots were and remain unwaveringly loyal to something much larger than a mere man
or geo-political institution. They pledged their sacred honor
), as do we, in support of Essential Liberty
( ) as "endowed
by our Creator (
)" and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and its subordinate guidance,
our Constitution.

It is this resolute devotion to the natural rights of man, the higher order of
Liberty as endowed by God, not government, which defines the spirit of American
Patriots, and has obliged the animating contest of freedom from Lexington Green to
this day.

Since the dawn of Patriots' Day in 1775, and loudly again in the present era, the
essence of Johnson's denigration of patriotism has been repeated by statists, who
augment their disdain for Patriots with words like "fascist," "nationalist" and

These statists, Democratic Socialists
( ) in the current
vernacular, would have us believe that they are the "true patriots," and only they
deserve to be the arbiters of Liberty. But, caveat emptor: As George Washington
implored in his Farewell Address, "Guard against the impostures of pretended

Liberty, as affirmed through natural law, is an abject affront to Socialists, who
can claim dominion over others only if they supplant Rule of Law with their own
rule. For such statists, the notion of serving a higher purpose than oneself is
enigmatic; consequently, there is a raging ideological battle between Democratic
Socialists and Patriots across our nation today.

Our steadfast support for Liberty and limited government is diametrically opposed to
the Socialist manifesto of the once-noble Democrat Party
( ), as
reframed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
( ) in 1933,
and renewed by every Democrat president since.

Regardless of how statists choose to promote Democratic Socialism, like National
Socialism it is nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged. Ultimately, it
likewise seeks a centrally planned economy directed by a dominant-party state that
controls economic production by way of taxation, regulation and income

So, will this Patriots' Day pass without our renewed commitment to keep and carry
forward the endowment which inspired those who fired the "shot heard 'round the

Of those content to be subjects rather than citizens, Samuel Adams' stirring words
ring true today: "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of
servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not
your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands, which feed you. May your
chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

Of course, the ranks of American Patriots
( ) today,
however thin, are much like those of previous generations. We remain singularly
devoted to the defense of Liberty over tyranny
( ).

In 1775, John Adams wrote, "A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,
can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."

In 1776, George Washington, in General Orders, wrote, "The time is now near at hand
which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are
to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to
be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from
which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now
depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and
unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject
submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die."

Once again, the time is at hand when our Patriot ranks must determine whether
Americans are to be freemen or slaves -- and this election year will determine in
large measure the fate of our nation.

Fellow Patriots, today is the last of the 2012 Patriots' Day Campaign
( ). Please support our mission to sustain our legacy
of Liberty through The Patriot Post, a touchstone for countless American Patriots
across our nation.

More important, help us promote Liberty through the distribution of millions of
Essential Liberty Project pocket guides to young people in educational institutions
nationwide. This guide is a proven and effective tool to educate those of all ages
who are uninformed about Liberty and tyranny, and ambivalent about how to stand for
freedom. We can enlist them into our Patriot ranks with your support
( ).

Deus et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mortis!
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post ( )
Title: The Battle of Athens
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 03, 2012, 10:04:22 AM
Alexander's Essay – May 3, 2012
The Battle of Athens (Tennessee)
A Case Study in Grassroots Restoration of the Rule of Law
"The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." -- James Madison (1788)
Vets firing on McMinn Jail
As a direct descendent of Tennessee Patriots who were veterans of every major conflict in defense of American Liberty from the American Revolution forward, I stand in awe of my home state's distinguished list of Patriot sons and daughters. From 19th-century notables like Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Nathan Bedford Forrest and Sam Davis, to a long list of 20th-century Patriots headed by Alvin York, warriors from the "Volunteer State" have distinguished themselves in battle with honor and courage. Even our state's nickname was earned in recognition of the valiant service of volunteer soldiers during the War of 1812, most notably during the Battle of New Orleans.
There was a group of lesser-known Tennessee Patriots, however, whose efforts to defend Liberty at home in 1946 were no less noble. This group of World War II veterans took up arms to restore Rule of Law in the quaint east Tennessee town of Athens (McMinn County), between Chattanooga and Knoxville. That fight became known as the Battle of Athens.
Given the rigorous efforts by the current regime of Socialist Democrats occupying the Executive and Legislative branches of our federal government, revisiting the Battle of Athens provides a timely lesson in Patriot devotion to Liberty. Democrats today have nationalized the corruption of the electoral process by both overt efforts (blocking measures such as Voter ID, and endorsing voter intimidation at polls) and much more insidious covert measures (increasing the rolls of voting village idiots who are dependent on wealth redistribution for their livelihood -- those who vote for their living rather than work for it).
In 1945, more than 3,000 battle-hardened vets returned home to McMinn County and found it brimming with political corruption. The GIs, who had fought for Liberty in the European and Pacific theaters, were not going to surrender it to corrupt politicians on their own soil. A spokesman for these Patriots proclaimed, "The principles that we fought for in this past war do not exist in McMinn County."
Despite numerous complaints about the corruption since 1940, the U.S. Department of Justice, under the control of Franklin Roosevelt, ignored citizens' charges of election fraud and did not respond.
I first read the history of this incident almost 30 years ago, but I did not know until I was researching the Battle of Athens for this essay that a distinguished Republican lady, whom I have known for more than three decades, was an eyewitness to this battle.
Lill Coker is the daughter of Dr. Horace Thomas, one of the veterans who gathered with others to restore Liberty in Athens that night. She recalls the events well.
Her father had given Lill permission to go up to the roof of their home and watch the events unfold at a distance. She listened to accounts being broadcast live by the local radio station, WLAR, which was located across the street from the jail, and recollected that the radio announcer was broadcasting from under his desk to avoid bullets whizzing through his studio.
The Battle of Athens pitted Lill's father and other seasoned GIs against a large contingent of sheriff's deputies. The "law enforcement" officials were agents of Sheriff Pat Mansfield and his predecessor, wealthy state Sen. Paul Cantrell -- both benefactors of a corrupt statewide Democrat political machine controlled by E.H. "Boss" Crump from Memphis. In order to ensure the election and re-election of politicians running that machine, Mansfield and Cantrell had sheriff's deputies rigging the ballot boxes in Athens -- thus undermining the integrity of elections, the most basic expression of Liberty and the will of the people in our constitutional republic.
By 1946, some veterans were determined to challenge the Cantrell/Mansfield corruption machine, and they qualified for several posts on the upcoming election ballot. One of these men was Knox Henry, the GI candidate for sheriff of McMinn County. Endeavoring to ensure honest elections, a month ahead of the primaries they petitioned the FBI to send election monitors. As with previous requests for help to restore Rule of Law, their requests were ignored.
On Election Day, 1 August 1946, Mansfield imported some 200 strong-armed "deputies" to ensure the election would go his way. Mansfield's men ejected the veterans from polling sites, and in one instance a deputy pointed his gun at them as they attempted to re-enter a poll and shouted, "If you sons of bitches cross this street I'll kill you!" Mansfield arrested one GI poll watcher, Walter Ellis, who insisted on monitoring polling in the courthouse. One black voter, Tom Gillespie, was shot after a confrontation with a Mansfield deputy who denied him the right to vote.
After a long day of disputes at the polls, Mansfield and about 50 of his men gathered up all the ballot boxes and took them to the county jail "for protection."
The veterans weren't about to let the 1946 election cycle fall to the same corruption that had undermined the previous three elections. In the early evening, a group of vets who had been ejected as poll watchers mustered up some fellow vets. Being short of arms and ammunition sufficient to challenge Mansfield's crew and retrieve the ballot boxes, these men "borrowed" keys to the local National and State Guard armories and requisitioned three M-1 rifles, five Colt .45 pistols and 24 British Enfield rifles.
The vets then went to the jail, where they offered the deputies safe exit if they would turn over the ballot boxes. The deputies declined and shot two of the vets. The GIs returned fire in a pitched gunfight that would continue into the early morning hours of 2 August, when a number of vets from neighboring Meigs County improvised explosive devices (baled dynamite sticks) onto the jail's porch in order to soften up the resolve of the occupants. Shortly thereafter, the deputies did surrender and the GIs secured the building and ballots. (Cantrell and Mansfield, cowards that they were, had abandoned their deputies and fled into the dark early in the battle.)
Post Your Opinion: Were the GIs right to take matters into their own hands?
The non-partisan veterans delivered this message to the radio announcer at WLAR: "The GI election officials went to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield promised. They were met with blackjacks and pistols. Several GI officials were beaten and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail. The GI supporters went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by gunfire. The GI candidates had promised that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but to meet fire with fire. In the precincts where the GI candidates were allowed watchers they led by three to one majorities."
The following morning, the armory weapons were cleaned and returned, and the ballot boxes were turned over for a legitimate count.
Knox Henry Elected Sheriff
In the final count the GI candidate, Knox Henry, was elected sheriff of McMinn County, and three other vets filled key county positions. In order to thwart future corruption, the town of Athens formed a new police force. In addition, elected county officials agreed to a $5,000 pay limit. In the decade that followed, the McMinn County reforms were adopted in many other counties across the state.
Summarizing her recollection of events, Lill Coker told me, "I was so proud of all the veterans and my father for taking a stand and doing what had to be done to make sure Rule of Law was restored. They had to go against those who were supposed to be upholding law and order. The vets had gone to fight for our country in World War II and came home to find that a political machine had robbed their fellow citizens of their rights. We must be eternally vigilant against corruption of our electoral process. I am very proud of our Tennessee legislators for passing the voter ID law. We can lose our freedom just as the people of Athens did during the war years when no one stood up to the sheriff's bullies at the polling places."
The Battle of Athens was much more than an extended gunfight between small-town political factions. Historian Dan Daley wrote, "It was a violent but decisive clash of two social and political cultures, between the past and the future of rural, state, and ultimately the federal government, and a reconfirmation of the deeply ingrained ideal that Americans can assert themselves against tyranny, even when it was taking place in their own backyard."
Indeed, the corruption in the small town of Athens is but a minuscule example of constitutional abrogation that has now been nationalized by the Democrat Party. Indeed, the corrupt Chicago politics that herded a local charlatan "community organizer" into the presidency represents fraud on a grand scale.
Among the lessons learned from the 1946 events in McMinn County are these two:
First and foremost, this incident, like so many before and since, affirms why our Founders codified in the Second Amendment the unalienable right of the people to "keep and bear arms." As Justice Joseph Story (appointed to the Supreme Court by our Constitution's author, James Madison) wrote, "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." History records the appalling 20th-century consequences of disarming the people.
The second lesson is that those of us who have pledged by sacred oath to "support and defend" the Liberty enshrined in our Constitution against "enemies foreign," must be equally devoted to the defense of Liberty against insult by "enemies domestic."
Post Your Opinion: Would honoring your oath inspire you to take up arms against tyranny, even on our own soil?
One certainly hopes we can defeat the socialist corruption undermining our Constitution nationally, with ballots, not bullets, but one way or the other, the next American Revolution is just over the horizon.
(For a full accounting of this case study in grassroots restoration of Rule of Law, we have photos, a chronology and media reports at The Patriot's Battle of Athens resource page.)
Footnote: Link to Reader Comments for a note about another wealthy and powerful Athens family attempting, this time, to dupe the entire Third Congressional District by fronting an ideological Democrat under the pretense he is a Republican.
Deus et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mortis!
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post
Title: WSJ: FDR's good example
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 10, 2012, 11:46:16 AM
If President Obama still wants to turn our economy around, it's time for him to act more like Franklin Roosevelt—but not in the way he might think. It takes a special kind of courage for a president to abandon a failed approach to economic policy and then embrace its opposite. Yet, faced in May 1940 with America's greatest foreign policy crisis since the nation's founding, that's exactly what Franklin D. Roosevelt did. FDR—architect of the New Deal and outspoken opponent of Big Business—was forced by the collapse of Europe's democracies under Hitler's blitzkrieg to turn to the corporate sector to prepare America for war.

Roosevelt had almost no choice. In 1940, the United States had the 18th-largest army in the world, right behind tiny Holland. While not so small, its Navy was totally unprepared to face a determined invader. Gen. George Marshall, Army chief of staff, warned Roosevelt that if Hitler landed five divisions on American soil, there was nothing he could do to stop them.

Neither the War nor Navy Departments had a clue how to mobilize a $100-billion civilian economy for war. Their joint "plan" ran to fewer than 20 typed pages. America's defense industry had been dismantled after World War I—"the war to end all wars."

So, reluctantly, on May 28, 1940, Roosevelt picked up the phone and called his archnemesis, General Motors President William Knudsen.

Knudsen was a Motor City legend. The Danish immigrant had worked his way up from the shop floor to become president of Chevrolet and then GM. He was a mass-production wizard.

He was also a Republican, and one who remembered Roosevelt's fierce denunciation of businessmen as "economic royalists who hide behind the flag and the Constitution." He also knew what historians have since learned: that FDR's vaunted New Deal, with its massive new government programs and antibusiness regulations, had done nothing to end the Great Depression. After six years of FDR, unemployment in 1939 still stood above 17%.

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
With a friendly smile and hearty handshake, President Franklin D. Roosevelt greeted William S. Knudsen, president of General Motors Corps., when the latter arrived at the White House for the first meeting of the new National Defense Commission in Washington on May 30, 1940. Knudsen was named in charge of industrial production for the president?s defense program. (AP Photo/George R. Skadding)
.Yet Knudsen's answer to the appeal from FDR was immediate. He quit GM and moved to Washington to mobilize his friends in the private sector to get America ready for war. He joined with U.S. Steel's Edward Stettinius, Sears, Roebuck's Don Nelson and other corporate executives and engineers who left their jobs to accept a federal salary of $1 a year. Together, they made Roosevelt a promise.

If the president gave them 18 months, they would persuade enough of American industry to convert their plants to making planes, tanks, ships and munitions without throwing the rest of the economy into a tail spin. The result, they pledged, would be the most massive outpouring of weaponry the world had ever seen.

Roosevelt was under intense pressure from his own administration—and from his wife Eleanor—not to agree. They believed it was impossible to convert to a wartime footing without a comprehensive, centrally directed plan for total mobilization and a single commanding figure in charge—in short, a war-production czar. "Democracy must wage total war," his aide Harry Hopkins wrote in a secret memo. "It must exceed the Nazi in fury, ruthlessness, and efficiency."

Knudsen disagreed. "If we get into war," he told the administration, "the winning of it will be purely a question of material and production"—and the best way to do that was to harness the forces and energies of private industry.

His advice was to clear away antiquated antibusiness tax laws and regulations and give the military's orders for materiel to the most productive sectors of the economy—the automotive, steel, chemical and electronics industries. Federal dollars would follow the trail of productivity and innovation, not the other way around.

Knudsen also insisted on keeping the process voluntary and decentralized, so that companies would be free to decide on their own which war materiel they were best suited to bid on, and how to produce it. The point was to reduce Washington's interference in the production process to a minimum.

This proposal was in effect Roosevelt's first introduction to supply-side economics. To arm the nation for war, Roosevelt not only had to agree to set aside his own ideological misgivings but almost a decade of his own failed economic policies. "Dr. New Deal," Roosevelt told the press, was going to have to make way for "Dr. Win the War."

The results, as Knudsen had promised, were staggering. Barely a year later—by the time Japanese bombs fell on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941—the scale of American war production was fast approaching that of Nazi Germany.

America truly became the "arsenal of democracy" (the phrase Knudsen invented). By the end of 1942 we were producing more tanks, ships, planes and guns than the entire Axis; by the end of 1943 more than Germany, the Soviet Union and Britain combined. American companies and farmers were equipping and feeding our allies as well—in the Soviet Union's case, Americans were providing almost a fifth of gross national product. Ford Motor Co. alone produced more munitions during the war than fascist Italy's entire economy.

Contrary to myth, the war didn't end the Depression or make Americans prosperous. Even with rising wages, they had to put up with rationing and very limited choice in consumer goods. National wealth, in terms of assets as measured by the Commerce Department, had barely changed. But unleashed to help win the war, American business enterprise had been brought back to life, and in 1945 it was ready to convert from making machine guns to washing machines and tractors again.

Many feared that with the end of government wartime spending—almost $300 billion worth, or $3 trillion in today's dollars—unemployment would boomerang, wages (which wartime work had driven up by an average of 70%) would fall and hopes for prosperity would be extinguished. Instead, private investment came roaring back, triggering steady economic growth that pushed the U.S. into a new era, as the most prosperous society in history.

"You are the great American," Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson told Knudsen at the war's end. And certainly, Bill Knudsen deserves credit for turning American business loose to build the greatest military in the world. But it was Franklin Roosevelt who had the courage to make a call in May of 1940 that sharply changed the direction of his own administration—and with that the future of the country.

Mr. Herman is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His newest book, "Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II," was published this week by Random House.

Title: THIS IS WAR movie
Post by: prentice crawford on May 16, 2012, 12:52:44 AM
 I just watched this film about the invasion of Iraq and fall of Baghdad, and decided to put it here as American history, because it is history now, and the Iraq war has been chewed over in the political sphere quite well, and I think it's time we changed the emphasis somewhat. The film is more than American military history of course, it's more personal than that because in encompasses the experience and viewpoint of one Marine as he documents his foray into combat. It is a stark, harsh look at war and the reality of what men in combat do and the mind set they have to have to accomplish the mission and endure the physical and psychological assault that is brought to bear down on a simple, normal human being. It's well worth watching, I warn you it is very graphic in a number of horrific ways but I think people should watch it. On one hand it shows how careful we need to be in deploying our troops to do battle and on the other it shows how once we do commit them we cannot expect them to do it with kid gloves and a kind heart. This was a 2009 release but it's back out as both regular DVD and now Blueray. ( The movie is titled, 'This Is War' or 'Severe Clear' depending on the version and I rented mine from Redbox.   

Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on May 16, 2012, 02:57:01 PM
"FDR—architect of the New Deal and outspoken opponent of Big Business—was forced by the collapse of Europe's democracies under Hitler's blitzkrieg to turn to the corporate sector to prepare America for war."

I was just thinking of the parallels of then and now:  

The US in the great depression then and an almost depression now staved off only by the tarps yet still in the economic "pits".

How Europe's political, economic , and war time upheaval of the 30's and 40's resulted in the US coming out the powerhouse.

With their closest rival being the Soviet Union.

Now we have Europe again in political economic upheaval and in economic dire straits.   If Europe implodes the US again could in a way come out stronger albeit with China not Russia the rival.

We cannot expect nor do I even want Brockman to reverse course.  Simply he needs to be replaced and Mitt take us the other way.  To a better and more prosperous future.

I hope the movei gets onto cable.  Sounds like a lesson that those of us who have not served cannot fully understand and therefore should not carelessly judge the actions of those who have [served] in combat.


Title: How the Wild West REALLY looked
Post by: bigdog on June 04, 2012, 03:00:45 PM

These remarkable 19th century sepia-tinted pictures show the American West as you have never seen it before - as it was charted for the first time.
The photos, by Timothy O'Sullivan, are the first ever taken of the rocky and barren landscape.
At the time federal government officials were travelling across Arizona, Nevada, Utah and the rest of the west as they sought to uncover the land's untapped natural resources.

Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 04, 2012, 03:14:12 PM
 8-) 8-) 8-)
Title: WSJ: Declaration of the War of 1812
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 15, 2012, 11:40:25 AM

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Two hundred years ago, on June 17, 1812, after considerable debate and a close vote, the United States Congress made its first use of powers granted it by Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution and declared war on Great Britain. It would come to be called the War of 1812.

There was plenty of provocation: Locked in the Napoleonic Wars, both Britain and France routinely seized neutral American ships that dared to trade with either belligerent. Worse, the British navy made it a normal practice to stop American ships and comb stateside docks for able-bodied seamen to impress into His Majesty's service. And farther west, the British were stifling efforts at settlement beyond the Ohio River by encouraging a host of Native American nations to attack.

These provocations aside, the odds did not look good. Seven million Americans were scattered across 18 states. The population of the British Isles was almost double that. Britain's army was among the best trained and most disciplined in the world. In January 1812, the effective strength of the American regular army numbered 4,000 officers and men.

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CloseSuperStock/Getty Images
James Madison as painted by Gilbert Stuart
.The American navy wasn't any better. The fleet consisted of five frigates, three sloops, seven brigs, and an assorted collection of 62 coastal gunboats. Britain floated some 175 capital, or heavy firepower, ships. Little wonder that upon hearing what Congress had done, President James Madison was said by Augustus John Foster, Britain's ambassador, to be "white as a sheet."

If remembered at all, the War of 1812 is often thought of as a sideshow of military ineptitude squeezed between the earlier glories of the American Revolution and the later traumas of the Civil War. But the war boasts what was by far the most contested declaration of war in U.S. history, and it recalls a time when the war power was firmly entrenched in the legislative branch of American government.

On June 1, 1812, Madison's war message was submitted to both houses of Congress. Given the custom of the day, it was read by clerks who droned on without inflection for about half an hour. In the House, many congressmen had recently returned from spring visits home, where they found no groundswell of support for war. After vigorous debate, the House passed the declaration of war on June 4 by a less-than-resounding vote of 79 to 49. "I think," bemoaned New Hampshire's Josiah Bartlett, "the business was too hasty."

Over in the Senate, things moved more slowly but also more contentiously. During the next two weeks, the Senate narrowly voted down a variety of amendments—one of which would have stopped short of full-scale war but authorized letters of marque and reprisal, which licensed private shipowners to take action against British shipping. Showing the young nation's audacity, another amendment would have issued such letters against both British and French ships.

Finally, on June 17, 1812, the Senate voted 19 to 13 for Madison's original declaration of war. Madison signed the declaration the following day. Two centuries later, this remains the closest war vote. Why since 1812 has Congress either overwhelmingly supported a president's request for a declaration of war or given him a bye when faced with his unilateral military action? The political fallout from the War of 1812 provides at least part of the answer.

While the war issue in 1812 was not rigidly defined along party lines, Federalists generally opposed the war while Jeffersonian Republicans (forerunners of Andrew Jackson's Democrats) favored it. Two years later, the most antiwar of the Federalists went so far as to convene at Hartford, Conn., and debate constitutional amendments designed to weaken the central government. Some insist that they debated outright secession.

As they debated, things looked pretty bleak for James Madison—his capital was in ruins, the British fleet had a stranglehold on American commerce, and a good third of the country was still ambivalent, if not outright hostile, to what they called Mr. Madison's War. Within a few months, however, Madison's peace commissioners had managed to win a draw at the negotiating table and, even more amazingly, Jackson had dealt British regulars a smashing defeat at New Orleans.

It hadn't been pretty, but the American union had survived. Madison donned the cloak of victor and two years later handpicked his successor, James Monroe. Those who had opposed the war, particularly the Federalists who had gathered in Hartford, were relegated to history's footnotes. In fact, the Federalist Party sputtered its last gasps and soon ceased to exist.

Militarily, the War of 1812 was filled with American defeats, but politically, it coalesced 18 loosely confederated states into a truly national union and marked the beginnings of a national psyche that would carry the country across the continent. The War of 1812 was also the apex of one of the most rudimentary of the constitutional checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches—the power to declare war. After the War of 1812, never again would Congress debate so vigorously and vote so narrowly to declare war. The political risks of doing so and ending up on the losing side had proven too high.

Mr. Borneman's books include "1812: The War That Forged a Nation" (HarperCollins, 2004) and "The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King," just published by Little, Brown.

Title: WSJ: The Gamble that failed
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 20, 2012, 07:23:00 AM

The Gamble That Failed
"September Hope" tells the story of Operation Market-Garden, one of the most decisive battles of World War II

'I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far." The signature line of the epic 1977 World War II film was delivered in a distinctly British accent, and the story of Operation Market-Garden, the failed Allied lunge over Holland's Lower Rhine River in September 1944, has been told most famously from the British perspective. But the accents of most of the assault's 38,000 paratroopers were distinctly American, and John C. McManus's new study of the operation, "September Hope," speaks passionately for the Yanks who fought and died in the land of tulips, canals and windmills.

In September 1944, the Allied high command believed the German army was on the brink of collapse. Dwight Eisenhower and Bernard Montgomery, the senior Allied commanders in Europe, thought that seizing a bridgehead over the Rhine at Arnhem would throw open the door to the north German plains and allow a rapid armored thrust toward Berlin. They saw Market-Garden as a high-risk, high-reward gamble that, with luck, might end the war by Christmas.

The struggle for a Lower Rhine crossing was actually two large, complex operations. In the first phase (Operation Market), the Allies planned to drop lightly armed parachute and glider troops behind German lines, to capture and hold a highway and a string of bridges over the Dommel, Aa, Waal, Maas and Lower Rhine Rivers. In the second phase (Operation Garden), the British XXX Corps would ride to the rescue. Led by the Guards Armoured Division, the XXX Corps would dash over the captured bridges, relieving the 101st Airborne Division at Eindhoven on the first day, the 82nd Airborne at Nijmegen on the second day, and the British 1st Airborne Division and the Polish 1st Parachute Brigade, furthest away at Arnhem, on the fourth day.

The operations were poorly conceived from the beginning. Unlike the paratroop drops in Sicily and Normandy, Market would take place in broad daylight and in full view of the German defenders. The road the paratroopers were to hold—soon dubbed "Hell's Highway"—was difficult for armor to traverse. To make matters worse, the operation would be run on a shoestring budget for gasoline, ammunition and aircraft, because Allied supplies could not be moved quickly enough from Normandy ports to the advancing front.

Enlarge Image

Close.September Hope
By John McManus
(NAL Caliber, 502 pages, $27.95)
.Risks piled upon risks, and warnings of formidable panzer divisions stationed in Holland went unheeded. Distracted by fuel shortages, complex command relationships between the national armies and an unrealistic hope of German collapse, Allied commanders were blind to compelling arguments against the mission. As Mr. McManus writes: "No one was willing to do what must be done—kill Market-Garden in its cradle."

After leaving the planning tables of Versailles and Brussels, "September Hope" climbs into the Dutch skies and drops the reader into the intense firefights raging around Holland's winding rivers. Mr. McManus's account is almost surrealistically violent: Battles are fought with rifle, grenade and knife; prisoners are executed without ceremony or reflection; dying men beg for morphine. "Screams have no nationality," as one sergeant remarked. Employing a rich mixture of first-person accounts and perceptive tactical analysis, Mr. McManus gives the reader a glimpse into the shrapnel and lead flying among desperate soldiers, and his pacing is impeccable.

Once the paratroopers landed, they were beset by crack German panzer and infantry divisions. Hell's Highway proved too constricted an artery to carry the XXX Corps to Arnhem, and breakdowns in the timetable condemned paratroopers to battles of attrition unsuited to their special talents. By the time the airborne divisions were withdrawn two months later, the Americans had suffered some 7,000 casualties (out of 28,000 soldiers committed), while the British 1st Airborne lost 8,000 men (out of 10,000). Market-Garden was a fiasco of the first magnitude.

Mr. McManus ably chronicles both American divisions, but it is the 82nd Division's leader, Brig. Gen. James Gavin, who commands the brightest spotlight. From the flames of Nijmegen, Gavin emerges as a larger-than-life figure—and the only hero in this story who wears general's stars. His iron will, devotion to his men and reassuring presence among the front lines inspired his troopers to attempt the impossible.

In one of the book's most awe-inspiring episodes, Gavin reluctantly sends a battalion across the forbidding Waal River into withering German fire. Paddling flimsy canvas boats with rifle butts and bare hands, the men "prepared in our own way to meet our maker," as one lieutenant recalled. "It did not seem militarily or humanly possible to accomplish such a mission." Yet accomplish it they did. "By the time midafternoon shadows began dancing along the ruined blocks of downtown Nijmegen," Mr. McManus writes, "the houses overlooking the bridges were under Anglo-American control." Yet it was all for naught.

With the failure to relieve the paratroopers at Arnhem, the Allied mirage of an easy path to Berlin faded. The American airborne divisions, reinforced by heavy infantry, settled into a stalemate around Nijmegen for six bitter weeks of fighting. In late November, the Allied command threw in the towel and pulled the weary paratroopers out of the line. Arnhem remained in German hands, and the northern door to Germany was bolted shut. "September hope had turned into November despair," Mr. McManus aptly concludes. Allied victory would have to await developments along the heavily fortified Siegfried Line to the south.

Operation Market-Garden remains one of the enduring tragedies of the Allied war in Europe, and "September Hope" describes the slow, unfolding train wreck in gripping detail. It is a testament to men assigned the impossible who, through sheer willpower, almost pulled it off.

Mr. Jordan is the author of "Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership That Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe."

Title: Rothstein: The War of 1812
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 26, 2012, 06:11:15 PM\
A Legacy Far Beyond the National Anthem
‘1812: A Nation Emerges,’ at National Portrait Gallery

Published: June 25, 2012

WASHINGTON — Noah Webster’s American Dictionary. The Erie Canal. Uncle Sam. Andrew Jackson’s presidency. “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The beginning of the end for American Indians. “Don’t give up the ship!”
What episode, rarely referred to outside of high school history classes, lay behind those disparate phenomena? And not just those. Here are others:

¶Three more presidencies (John Quincy Adams, James Monroe and William Henry Harrison).
¶John Jacob Astor’s fortune.
¶The westward expansion of the United States.
¶The growth of New England manufacturing.
¶“We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

As we learn from a major new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery here, all this (and “Tippecanoe and Tyler too”) grew out of the War of 1812. It was, you recall, a war between the generation-old United States and its onetime master, Britain. It was fraught with posturing and missed cues, brilliant strategy and clumsy planning. Its beginning was overshadowed by Napoleon, who controlled much of continental Europe, had begun an invasion of Russia and had his eyes set on the conquest of Britain. The war’s ending left neither nation a victor and seemed to resolve no aspect of the conflict.

Yet on the occasion of the war’s bicentennial, this exhibition asserts that it had an even more profound impact than this list might suggest: It shaped a sense of American identity. The Revolutionary War established independence, but the War of 1812 forged a nation.

The exhibition, “1812: A Nation Emerges,” combines more than 100 artifacts and paintings, including loans from Canada and Britain. It displays some of the finest examples of early American portraiture, paintings of nautical battles (some of which yielded colorful proclamations), uniforms, a model ship, videos from the History channel, maps and drawings, early American flags and a few historical documents. Nothing here is in itself highly dramatic or revelatory. Yet the show’s curators, Sidney Hart, the senior historian of the Portrait Gallery, and Rachael L. Penman, an assistant curator, have harnessed this material to tell a compelling and vivid story (which can also be followed in the show’s catalog).

We learn first just how far from a world power the United States of 1800 was. Its new capital on the banks of the Potomac River was mostly a swampy wasteland. With Thomas Jefferson as president, and James Madison as his secretary of state (Gilbert Stuart’s famous portraits of each man are here), the nation’s approach to international conflicts — including the confrontations between Napoleon and the British — was to avoid them. Jefferson’s Embargo Act (of 1807) was actually a weird, self-imposed embargo, ending United States international trade altogether, imprisoning America’s ships in harbors rather than letting them maneuver around opposing French and British demands.

We learn, too, how the British regularly infringed on American sovereignty by stopping ships and “impressing” British “deserters” on board into service in the British Navy. The problem was partly that the British considered any British-born sailor a deserter if he came to the United States after 1783. It is estimated that 6,000 men were abducted from American ships.

But a bust of Napoleon here, once owned by Jefferson, is a reminder that Napoleon was the ghostly presence at this war, without whom it might never have happened. He had closed European ports to British trade, thus increasing international pressure. He later left the British so distracted that they never fully focused on the American war.

Debates raged in Congress over how much should be tolerated from the British, an issue made more urgent because of a strengthening alliance between the British and American Indian tribes. The final tallies in Congress voting for war: 79 to 49 in the House and 19 to 13 in the Senate. The bill was signed on June 18, beginning the War of 1812 (which was really the War of 1812-15).

The split in Congress reflected a division in the population, which is why the war’s earliest casualties were not from foreign attacks but from native strife. Henry Lee, a Revolutionary War hero, father of Robert E., and an opponent of the war (shown here in a Stuart portrait), was trapped in a Baltimore house with a newspaper editor who shared his views. Outside, riots raged. For their own protection, they were jailed. But angry citizens broke in. Lee never fully recovered from his wounds.

As for the war itself, the British Navy had 500 ships in service, the Americans only 17. So American ports were easily blockaded. American naval victories tended to be on inland waterways and lakes. The fighting seesawed back and forth inconclusively.

There is a marble statue here of a dying Indian warrior, Tecumseh, who had led his fighters into an alliance with the British and played an instrumental role in several early battles. But his death, and the course of the war itself, meant that never again would there be a similar military alliance of Indian tribes.

The high-water mark for the British came in the burning of Washington in 1814 (partly avenging the 1813 American torching of York — now Toronto). We see here a remarkable British cartoon of the time mocking the Americans, with President Madison (“Maddy”) fleeing the flames, running, we are told, “to his bosom friend,” Napoleon.

In real life, Madison’s wife, Dolley, apparently had the presence of mind to rescue the famous Stuart portrait of Washington as the president’s house was evacuated. She was also said to have fled with the red velvet drapes; one hypothesis is that a dress shown here, which she kept throughout her life, was made from that fabric.

The low-water mark for the British actually came after the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1814. The treaty ended the war by simply restoring earlier conditions, but not having heard the news, Jackson defeated the British in a dramatic battle in New Orleans.

So how, out of this assemblage of seemingly isolated battles with mixed results, did the war have such a profound impact?
It was, first, an emphatic demonstration that the United States’s autonomy was not something to be assumed, but had to be constantly affirmed. Out of the possibility of imminent failure, patriotic nationalism developed.

That was also what led Francis Scott Key to express his relief that the American flag “was still there” at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, despite a night of British bombardment. The wonder was not at victory but at survival. The exhibition here is content with reproductions both of his manuscript of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and of a Congreve rocket like those the British were firing.

And despite the war’s inconclusive end, it united many political opponents on at least one point: War preparation was a necessity; it was a way of ensuring peace. With the disintegration of the Indian military alliance, the path was also left open for the country’s westward expansion — and for the government’s continuing wars against the Indians.

In a final gallery results accumulate (though some were amplified by the war rather than fully caused by it). Because of the war’s nationalist spirit, a Troy, N.Y., supplier for meat to the Army, Samuel Wilson, who stamped his barrels “U.S.,” evolved into the figure “Uncle Sam.” Because of the boycott of British goods, manufacturing expanded in New England. Because battles extended over the entire country, it became clear how poor the roads were and how important it was that new modes of transportation be developed (including the Erie Canal). Because of the new national identity, Webster conceived of a standard-setting dictionary that might eliminate regionalism and affirm Americanized versions of British spellings.
And Astor’s fortune? It was partly from the fur trade before the war, but we learn that he also lobbied for an 1814 law that allowed only United States citizens to trap on American soil. Astor’s American Fur Company boomed. He bought Manhattan real estate and became the young nation’s most famous example of Old Money.

This exhibition is not revolutionary in its interpretation of the war, which is understood by many scholars in similar terms. But the show reveals how remarkable that war really was: When else has something affected so many with so much, when it so often seems so slight?

“1812: A Nation Emerges” is on view through Jan. 27 at the National Portrait Gallery, 800 F Street NW, Washington;
Title: Normandy then and now
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 15, 2012, 02:33:03 PM   
Title: Morris: How the Reps lost the black vote
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 21, 2012, 09:05:30 AM
Title: How can Repubs get minority votes?
Post by: ccp on July 21, 2012, 04:39:07 PM
Without pandering?  Without trying to outspend Democrats on taxpayer funded benefits (entitlements)?

Fascinating discussion by Dick.   I wondered how in the world the Blacks shifted from republican to democrat.

I was disappointed he doesn't offer any way to bring them back.  Are they lost forever?

How can we get Blacks back to the Repub party?  Without pandering?  Without government (taxpayer) handouts?

One thought I have had and expressed previously is to emphasize in no uncertain terms that the Democrats are giving away all US citizens freedoms - including those of color, latino, and everyone else here legally.  Just now when Blacks have been able to succeed in US society they risk losing their freedoms too.

Herman Cain basically said this when he said "he got off the Democrat Party plantation long ago".

Unfortunately Blacks either do not think they can make it on their own without big daddy government redistributing wealth or perhaps it is more simply  a reparations or get even thing.  I don't know.

I really think Romney failed to address how the Repub party means freedom for all and the Dem party means Blacks will not share in the fredeom because they are voting for a party that is eager to give it away to buy votes.  Look at the long term.  Not just the next government paycheck.

And so how do we court Latinos?  Simply say we are all for pardons of illegals?  Hey guys come on over?   They aren't all going to start voting Republican for some ideology.

They want the government to pay them entitlements same as the rest of the Demcocrats, white , chinese, blacks etc.  Except for Cubans in Florida (not NYC) they didn't all start voting Repub just because of Reagan's pardon.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 21, 2012, 08:53:29 PM
Excellent questions!

Lets take this over to the Race thread.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on July 22, 2012, 05:13:20 AM
Since I often lambast Morris, I have to say that he gets this one mostly right.
Title: Morris: History of the Vice-Presidency
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 28, 2012, 08:17:40 AM
Title: Civil War in Missouri
Post by: bigdog on July 28, 2012, 05:08:11 PM
Title: Re: Morris: History of the Vice-Presidency
Post by: bigdog on July 28, 2012, 05:25:43 PM
This was interesting. One thing I would add is that the vice presidency has been vacant for roughly a third (that is a quick estimate) of the nation's history. It is difficult to build any institutional legitimacy when that is the case. It is not an accident that the VP was taken more seriously after there was a constitutional amendment meaning that there would always be a veep.
Title: Morris: New theory on start of the civil war
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 22, 2012, 09:11:57 AM
Title: Morris: How Communist Henry Wallace almost became president
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 30, 2012, 04:19:02 AM
Title: The scariest moment in history was even scarier than we thought
Post by: bigdog on October 11, 2012, 04:32:06 AM
Foreign Policy, the pretty decent magazine which is aptly named, is covering the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which technically is still about a month away. Below is a sample of the coverage.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 11, 2012, 07:24:04 AM

I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I was in fourth grade at the time.  Interesting info in your post there-- many things I did not know.
Title: Cuban missile crisis: Really touch-and-go?
Post by: bigdog on October 15, 2012, 07:50:21 PM
Title: Ed Rothstein: Prohibition
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 21, 2012, 06:24:18 AM
Bottoms up…
A Look at Prohibition, Hardly Dry
‘American Spirits’ at the National Constitution Center

American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia includes an illustration of per capita hard-liquor consumption in 1830. More

Published: October 18, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — It has been a long time since anybody said: “You know, the 18th Amendment was a pretty good idea. Too bad it was overturned by the 21st.” And perhaps only the most prescriptively devout among us is likely to advocate banning the sale of alcohol again in the United States.

WHEN AND WHERE Friday through April 28. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. The show then travels to other cities.
INFORMATION (215) 409-6600,

WHERE TO DRINK Tip a few at one of these Philadelphia speakeasies: the Farmers’ Cabinet, 1113 Walnut Street, (215) 923-1113,; Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company, 112 South 18th Street, (267) 467-3277,; Hop Sing Laundromat, 1029 Race Street (which has a dress code: no flip-flops, no sandals, no sneakers, no shorts and no hats),

But that is what makes the history of Prohibition such a challenge to understand. We have to imagine what kind of passions created it, but we risk distorting them because they are so alien.

Yet that movement altered the Constitution in a radical fashion, extending its reach to matters once considered personal and restricting freedoms rather than expanding them. In effect from 1920 to 1933, Prohibition drastically altered the legal system of every state, and overturned ordinary citizens’ behaviors and expectations. While claiming high virtue and utopian prospects, it inspired spectacular violations and grotesque criminal violence.

We tend to think of Prohibition now as some kind of crazed moral paroxysm, reflecting the worst in the American character. Or it inspires facile parallels with contemporary political movements while producing some fine folk tales about Eliot Ness, Al Capone, pious preachers, flappers, bootleggers, the Charleston and the speakeasy.

And those elements are all on display at the new exhibition at the National Constitution Center here, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” But the show also asks, “How did we get here?” And with its 120 artifacts, gallery stage sets, videos, games and diversions, it doesn’t just round up the usual suspects.

Along the way we see alliances between progressives and nativists, suffragists and ministers. There are explanations for the development of a federal income tax to compensate for lost liquor-tax revenue; a suggestion that anti-Germany hysteria during World War I helped spur animosity toward the big brewers, who were “overwhelmingly of German ancestry”; and an examination of the patchwork of strange liquor laws that began after the repeal of Prohibition and persist to this day. In Oklahoma, no one under 21, not even a baby in its mother’s arms, can be in a liquor store; in Indiana, convenience stores can sell beer only at room temperature.

The show’s curator is Daniel Okrent, who (aside from having been the first public editor of The New York Times) wrote an excellent, nuanced history of Prohibition, “Last Call,” a book whose details also informed Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 2011 documentary, “Prohibition.”

The exhibition, like the book, touches on important themes in its narrative, but there is almost nothing dry about it, except that in the mock speakeasy at its center, the bottles are empty and nothing is served. In that gallery, you are served up Prohibition as a form of unlicensed and licentious play. A giant video screen shows film footage of the Charleston, while on a dance floor, foot markers teach visitors the moves.

On small tables like those at which “zozzled” (drunk) flappers and “jelly beans” (their boyfriends) once illegally imbibed “foot juice” (cheap wine) or “jag juice” (hard liquor), you can read explanations of speakeasy slang. You also learn that the best way for a customer to behave in a raid was to sit quietly, because while selling liquor was illegal, drinking it wasn’t. The dry bar’s counter offers a miniature history of cocktails, which flourished in Prohibition, partly because the taste of moonshine needed things like maraschino cherries to be palatable.

But this speakeasy exuberance was part of an elaborately hypocritical setup. H. L. Mencken, we learn, wrote that it wasn’t true that anyone could get a drink in any Baltimore speakeasy. “You would have to be introduced,” Mencken explained, “by a judge, a policeman or some other reputable person.”

The show’s playfulness makes a point. Legal ambiguities and loopholes were widely exploited. Malt sales boomed, allowing home fermentation; physicians prescribed alcohol to patients (one doctor’s ledger is on display). We see flasks hidden inside walking sticks and cigar boxes. And criminal gangs took over distribution and smuggling.

So how did this happen? The imaginative highlight of the exhibition is a 20-foot-long, wall-sized “contraption” designed by the Brooklyn firm Moey, a display that chronicles the ways the temperance movements of the 19th century used the political process. Levers rock, gears turn, trains weave, typewriters click away. A lawyer named Wayne Wheeler, we read, was the master strategist for the Anti-Saloon League, described as “the most effective political pressure group in American history” and here is the machinery he set in motion.

He began by controlling blocs of voters who could swing local elections. He united diverse groups who agreed on one issue. And he left language vague so moderates might be lured into the fold. Through manipulation, sleight of hand and incentives, the goal was achieved. This is history as farce, accompanied by calliopes and ragtime; the passage of the 18th Amendment is finally marked by the ringing of a strongman’s bell, as at a carnival.

The contraption is entrancing to watch but there is a heavy dose of irony in its merriment. It is almost too seductive. We are meant to see a method whose threat goes far beyond the bounds of its subject. Perhaps the parallel is to the narrow interest groups now dominant in our political parties? Or to the possibility of extremists harnessing the technique of electoral success? We don’t really learn what proportion of Americans supported Prohibition because the amendment was never subject to a popular vote.
But the show makes it clear that this mechanism is only a small part of the story. We tend to think of Prohibition as something that grew out of religious fervor. True, in part, but only in part.

As the exhibition points out, the temperance movement was inspired by a real problem: in 1830, Americans over age 15 were drinking the equivalent of seven gallons of pure alcohol each year — about four shots a day and three times current levels. From 1850 to 1890, we also learn, America’s annual beer consumption grew to 855 million gallons, from 36 million. And from 1870 to 1900, the number of saloons nationwide rose to 300,000 from 100,000.

Women were at the forefront of the movement against alcohol, partly because their households suffered under its burden. And their protests were both radical and religious. In 1873, Eliza Thompson of Hillsboro, Ohio, led a group of women to kneel in the snow before each saloon and pray. Soon 9 of Hillsboro’s 13 drinking places had closed their doors in shame. The tactic spread.

The stakes were raised by Carry A. Nation, described as “six feet tall, with the biceps of a stevedore, the face of a prison warden and the persistence of a toothache.” She became famous for striding into saloons with a hatchet and smashing everything in sight.

Another activist, Frances Willard, president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, joined opposition to alcohol with advocacy for prison and school reform and women’s rights. An 1876 letter to Willard displayed here, from Susan B. Anthony, cheers the linkage of women’s suffrage to the temperance movement.

“Now you are to go forward,” Anthony writes, “now the Red Sea opens to pass you through — now you shall put the ten thousands to flight — I wish I could see you and make you feel my gladness, not only for your sake, personally, but for the cause sake — for temperance and virtue’s sake — for woman’s sake.”

At least one reason for demanding suffrage was to pass laws prohibiting alcohol. And the activists found alliances with socially conservative Protestant congregations. In one gallery meant to evoke a church, you can listen to fiery anti-alcohol sermons.

But here is what is so intriguing. In the church gallery, there are interactive video screens that ask questions about your background. Then a guess is made about whether you might have been a “wet” or a “dry” at the end of the 19th century. We learn, for example, that women, urban dwellers and supporters of a federal income tax, social reforms,
women’s suffrage or a strong federal government were more likely to be dry than their opposites (men, rural dwellers, etc.).

This means that many of the passions associated with Prohibition were not just those of a religious right (to use contemporary vocabulary) but a political left. These seemingly opposed forces aligned, which was a reason the movement gathered such power. A promised land was in sight. Prohibition became a prescriptive vision of virtue uniting varying ideologies, some elaborately utopian.

In some ways, this strange political alliance still comes into play: strict prescriptions on speech and attitude have been associated with both ends of the political spectrum. But Prohibition’s vision backfired; its utopianism turned tyrannical; drinking became fashionable. Is that finally the lesson that Prohibition teaches us about utopian policies? Be careful what you wish for, especially if you wish for too much. You may get the opposite.
Title: Morris: The election of Lincoln
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 03, 2012, 04:52:07 PM
Title: Thanksgiving 1789
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 22, 2012, 07:11:19 AM
Thanksgiving, 1789
George Washington's proclamation was not without controversy..

It is hard to imagine America's favorite holiday as a source of political controversy. But that was the case in 1789, the year of our first Thanksgiving as a nation.

The controversy began on Sept. 25 in New York City, then the seat of government. The inaugural session of the first Congress was about to recess when Rep. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey rose to introduce a resolution. He asked the House to create a joint committee with the Senate to "wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God."

The congressman made special reference to the Constitution, which had been ratified by the requisite two-thirds of the states in 1788. A day of public thanksgiving, he believed, would allow Americans to express gratitude to God for the "opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness."

Boudinot's resolution sparked a vigorous debate. Rep. Aedanus Burke of South Carolina objected on the grounds that a Thanksgiving was too European. He "did not like this mimicking of European customs, where they made a mere mockery of thanksgivings."

Rep. Thomas Tudor Tucker, also of South Carolina, raised two further objections. "Why should the President direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do?" he asked. "If a day of thanksgiving must take place," he said, "let it be done by the authority of the several States."

Tucker's second reservation had to do with separation of church and state. Proclaiming a day of Thanksgiving "is a religious matter," he said, "and, as such, proscribed to us." The Bill of Rights would not be ratified until 1791—but Congress had just approved the wording of First Amendment, and that debate was fresh in everyone's mind.

It fell to a New Englander to stand up in support of Thanksgiving. Connecticut's Roger Sherman praised Boudinot's resolution as "a laudable one in itself." It also was "warranted by a number of precedents" in the Bible, he said, "for instance the solemn thanksgivings and rejoicings which took place in the time of Solomon, after the building of the temple."

In the end, the Thanksgiving resolution passed—the precise vote is not recorded—and the House appointed a committee. The resolution moved to the Senate, which passed it and added its own members to the committee.

The committee took the resolution to the president, and on Oct. 3 George Washington issued his now-famous Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it, he designated Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789 as "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer." He asked Americans to render their "sincere and humble thanks" to God for "his kind care and protection of the People of this Country."

It was his first presidential proclamation, and it was well heeded. According to the "Papers of George Washington," compiled by the University of Virginia, Thanksgiving Day was "widely celebrated throughout the nation." Newspapers around the country published the proclamation and announced plans for public functions in honor of the day. Religious services were held, and churches solicited donations for the poor. Washington himself sent $25 to a pastor in New York City, requesting that the funds be "applied towards relieving the poor of the Presbyterian Churches," in the words of his secretary.

Thanksgiving feasts in New England at the time of the nation's founding were similar to those today, says Charles Lyle, director of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Conn. The museum recently hosted an 18th-century-style Thanksgiving dinner using recipes supplied by a local food historian, Paul Courchaine. Turkey and pumpkin pie were on the menu, along with venison pie, roast goose, roast pork, butternut squash, creamed onions, pottage of cabbage, onions and leeks, and Indian pudding, made from cornmeal and spices.

In a bow to contemporary tastes, several wines were served at the museum but not the one Americans were likely to have drunk in the 18th century—Madeira, a high-alcohol-content wine fortified with brandy. Before the Revolution, Madeira, which came from the Portuguese-owned Madeira Islands, was considered a patriotic beverage, since it was not subject to British taxation. It was Washington's favorite drink.

Washington was keenly aware of his role as a model for future presidents. He once remarked that "There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not be hereafter drawn into precedent." That included his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, which set the standard for Thanksgiving Proclamations by future presidents, a list that included James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and then every president up to the present day.

The tradition begun by George Washington has survived without further controversy. Since the original debate in the House in September 1789, no member of Congress has complained that Thanksgiving proclamations are too European, a violation of the separation of church and state or, most especially, not what the American people want.

Ms. Kirkpatrick, a former deputy editor of the Journal's editorial page, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She is the author of "Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad" (Encounter Books, 2012).
Title: The War of 1812
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 21, 2012, 08:28:59 AM
America's Second War of Independence
The War of 1812 led to a professional military and aided Western expansion..

Today, Korea is often called "the forgotten war." A better candidate is the War of 1812, whose bicentennial is this year.

There are two main reasons. First, the war seems to have changed nothing. The end of the conflict seemed simply to return the parties to the status quo ante bellum. Second, the American armed forces did not acquit themselves well. Only the performance by Army regulars under Brevet Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans, and the repulse of the British attack on Fort McHenry at the Battle of Baltimore (which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner") and some successes at sea provided rare bright spots in what was an otherwise dismal military performance.

Yet the outcome of this conflict made a great difference.

First, the war validated American independence. The new republic had been buffeted between the two great powers of the age. Great Britain had accepted the fact of American independence only grudgingly, using superior naval power to restrict U.S. trade with Europe and impressing American sailors into the Royal Navy. Nor was revolutionary (and subsequently Napoleonic) France inclined to recognize America's rights as a nation, and like the British it subjected American merchant vessels to arbitrary treatment.

President James Madison's war message to Congress, with its echoes of the Declaration of Independence's "long train of abuses," made it clear that the United States was willing to vindicate its rights as a state in the international system. Thus historians have sometimes called the War of 1812 the second war of American independence.

Second, it called into question the utopian approach to international relations. As president, Thomas Jefferson had rejected Federalist Party calls for a robust military establishment. He argued that the U.S. could achieve its goals by strictly peaceful means, and that if those failed, he could force the European powers to respect American rights by withholding U.S. trade.

Jefferson's second term demonstrated the serious shortcomings of his thinking. His attempts to employ economic pressure against England and France destroyed U.S. commerce, antagonized the New England states, and ultimately failed to prevent a war for which the country was woefully unprepared. As a result of the War of 1812, American statesmen realized that to survive in a hostile world, the U.S. would have to adopt measures, including the use of military power and traditional diplomacy, that doctrinaire republicanism abhorred.

Third, the conduct of the war exploded the republican myth of the civilian militia's superiority to a professional military. Thus, during the three decades after the War of 1812, the Army would adopt generally recognized standards of training, discipline and doctrine. It would create branch schools, e.g., schools of infantry, cavalry and artillery.

In addition, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point began to provide highly motivated professional officers, many of whom were trained engineers, to lead the Army. The U.S. created the position of Commanding General of the Army, a uniformed officer in the chain of command between the president and secretary of war on the one hand and field commanders on the other. The lack of such a position had been sorely missed during the War of 1812.

Many of these military reforms were the work of John C. Calhoun, who proved to be one of the most innovative and effective secretaries of war (which was the title of the cabinet officer before 1947, when it was changed to secretary of defense).

Finally, although the war only re-established the status quo ante bellum, there were far less favorable possible outcomes. For instance, at the beginning of peace talks in 1814, the British demanded an Indian barrier state in the Old Northwest (including present-day Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota) and a ban on American naval forces on the Great Lakes. It was only the American victory at Plattsburgh in 1814 that caused the British to drop these demands. Had the war not ended as it did, such an Indian barrier state could well have foreclosed or at least complicated American westward expansion.

This was no minor problem. American Indians today are portrayed as mere victims. But the Indian nations of the Old Northwest constituted a formidable threat to the U.S., especially in alliance with the British.

Likewise, much is often made of the fact that the American victory at New Orleans occurred on Jan. 8, 1815, after the signing of the peace treaty at Ghent. That treaty notwithstanding, it is extremely unlikely that, had they prevailed, the British would have given up what at that time was the most important port in North America without substantial American concessions, including territorial ones.

In short, the outcome of the War of 1812 mattered for the future of the United States. Americans should give this war its due.

Mr. Owens is professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and author of "US Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain" (Continuum, 2011).
Title: Morris: GW's 1st term , 2nd term; Adams stops a possible coup detat by Hamilton
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 26, 2012, 08:43:09 AM
Title: Morris: John Adams and the Alien & Sedition Act
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 27, 2012, 08:51:44 AM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 27, 2012, 03:18:14 PM
Various drafts of the Declaration of Independence contrasted:
Title: Morris: Jefferson wins the election of 1800 , , , sort of
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 28, 2012, 02:12:37 PM
Title: Morris: Jefferson's first term of office
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 29, 2012, 08:00:58 AM
Title: Morris: Naval Victory in 1812
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 01, 2013, 11:05:41 AM
Title: Morris: When New England almost seceded
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 06, 2013, 08:44:26 AM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 27, 2013, 11:53:52 AM
From "A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, Now Met in Congress at Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms," 1775:

Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. — We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.

Lest this declaration should disquiet the minds of our friends and fellow-subjects in any part of the empire, we assure them that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to see restored. — Necessity has not yet driven us into that desperate measure, or induced us to excite any other nation to war against them. — We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great-Britain, and establishing independent states. We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.
Title: Cong. Brady: a Lincolnian Econ Primer
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 13, 2013, 09:20:01 AM
A Lincolnian Economic Primer for Obama
Abe's approach was to provide rules of the road for the private sector and let entrepreneurs compete..

President Obama chose to deliver his State of the Union address this year on the 204th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. It was a good selection of a significant date. As Steven Spielberg makes clear in his epic film "Lincoln," Americans of all backgrounds and political persuasions can learn much from the character and presidency of the 16th president.

With regard to human rights and economic liberty, Lincoln adhered to two fundamental principles. First, that every person was entitled to the fruits of his or her labors, and no one had an unrequited claim (i.e., slavery) to the fruits of the labors of others. What so troubled Lincoln about slavery was that it was theft—pure and simple. Lincoln ran for president on a platform to stop slavery's spread. As president and commander in chief, he struck against slavery in the rebellious states through the Emancipation Proclamation. Then he pressed for slavery's permanent abolition by constitutional amendment—in both rebellious and loyal border states—because no man may steal the fruits of the labor of others.

The second principle that guided the Republican president was that every person, regardless of the circumstances of his birth, should be able to climb as far up the economic ladder as his talents may take him. Historian Richard Hofstadter called Lincoln the "greatest dramatist" for upward mobility the nation ever produced, and for good reason.

Under Lincoln's watchful eye and skillful leadership, the 37th Congress enacted more economically significant legislation than had any of its predecessors. The underlying theme of Lincoln's economic initiatives was that by providing ordinary people with incentives to use their own skills and labor, the entire nation would prosper. Very little of what Lincoln signed into law could be declared, in the present-day idiom, "entitlements" or "redistribution."

Lincoln pressed Congress to enact the Homestead Act. Instead of selling land in the West in large tracts to wealthy investors, as many Democrats in his day had advocated, Lincoln preferred to grant title to 160 acres to anyone who would settle on it and farm it for five years. Thus Lincoln helped Americans who, like him, started on the bottom rung of life but were willing to work hard. It was the opportunity to reach prosperity but not the guarantee of it.

Lincoln signed the Agricultural Act that established the Department of Agriculture to provide extension services to help farmers use the latest scientific knowledge to increase their productivity. He also was determined to establish a uniform national currency. After the federal charter for the Second Bank of the United States lapsed in 1836, America lacked a uniform national currency. Instead, state-chartered banks issued their own notes. Because of their varying quality, state bank notes traded at daily fluctuating prices. The additional cost associated with internally floating exchange rates inhibited the development of interstate commerce.

After Congress passed the National Bank Act during the Civil War, national banks could issue up to $300 million in national bank notes that were secured by Treasury bonds and accepted at face value throughout the U.S. By eliminating the uncertainty of internally floating exchange rates, Lincoln facilitated the development of a single national economy, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs—such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford—who arose from humble beginnings to build the industry of the modern world.

Lincoln saw the government's job to provide the private sector with rules of the road and public works through which entrepreneurs could both compete with one another and expand jobs. Unlike President Obama, President Lincoln saw creators of wealth not as "robber barons" to be maligned by the federal government but as job generators that should be encouraged.

Despite the war, Lincoln was determined to unify our country not only North and South, but also East and West. Lincoln pressed Congress to pass the Pacific Railway Act authorizing incentives for the Union Pacific and Central Pacific to build the transcontinental railroad. In contrast to President Obama's stimulus, which was directed to a few chosen special interests, under Lincoln's rules companies competed openly for federal land they intended to develop. Entire towns sprang up around the rails.

Lincoln signed the 1862 Morrill Land Grant College Act, which granted each state 30,000 acres per senator and representative it had in 1860. Proceeds from these land sales would be used to establish "agricultural and mechanical" colleges. Most of these colleges grew into great state universities that have supported scientific research and awarded degrees to millions of Americans. Lincoln sold federally owned assets to pay for his investment in higher education. In contrast, Mr. Obama has aggressively blocked energy production on large tracts of federal lands, the revenues from which could be used to pay for critical investment, and to reduce the federal deficit and spur well-paying jobs.

Those parsing President Obama's speech on Lincoln's birthday may not find much of Abraham Lincoln in it, beyond the symbolism. Let us hope that Mr. Obama uses the remainder of his term to get his policies right by Lincoln rather than misconstrue history in an effort to align the 16th president's policies with his own. If Mr. Obama truly seeks to emulate Lincoln, he will find members of Congress on both sides of the aisle willing to work with him.

Mr. Brady, a Republican congressman from Texas, is the incoming chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. Mr. Lehrman is chairman of the Lehrman Institute and author of "Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point" (Stackpole Books, 2008).


From Abraham Lincoln's Second Annual Message, Dec. 1, 1862:

The receipts into the treasury from all sources, including loans and balance from the preceding year, for the fiscal year ending on the 30th June, 1862, were $583,885,247.06, of which sum $49,056,397.62 were derived from customs; $1,795,331.73 from the direct tax; from public lands, $152,203.77; from miscellaneous sources, $931,787.64; from loans in all forms, $529,692,460.50. The remainder, $2,257,065.80, was the balance from last year.

The disbursements during the same period were: For Congressional, executive, and judicial purposes, $5,939.009.29; for foreign intercourse, $1,339,710.35; for miscellaneous expenses, including the mints, loans, Post-Office deficiencies, collection of revenue, and other like charges, $14,129,771.50; for expenses under the Interior Department, $985.52; under the War Department, $394,368,407.36; under the Navy Department, $42,674,569.69; for interest on public debt, $13,190,324.45; and for payment of public debt, including reimbursement of temporary loan and redemptions, $96,096,922.09; making an aggregate of $570,841,700.25, and leaving a balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July, 1862, of $13,043,546.81.

It should be observed that the sum of $96,096,922.09, expended for reimbursements and redemption of public debt, being included also in the loans made, may be properly deducted both from receipts and expenditures, leaving the actual receipts for the year $487,788,324.97, and the expenditures $474,744,778.16.

Other information on the subject of the finances will be found in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, to whose statements and views I invite your most candid and considerate attention.
Title: The Truth about Lincoln & Slavery
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 21, 2013, 08:17:40 AM
The Truth about Abraham Lincoln & Slavery

Posted By Walter Williams On February 21, 2013 -

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” has been a box-office hit and nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best picture, best director and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrayed our 16th president. I haven’t seen the movie; therefore, this column is not about the movie but about a man deified by many. My colleague Thomas DiLorenzo, economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, exposed some of the Lincoln myth in his 2006 book, “Lincoln Unmasked.” Now comes Joseph Fallon, cultural intelligence analyst and former U.S. Army Intelligence Center instructor, with his new e-book, “Lincoln Uncensored.” Fallon’s book examines 10 volumes of collected writings and speeches of Lincoln’s, which include passages on slavery, secession, equality of blacks and emancipation. We don’t have to rely upon anyone’s interpretation. Just read his words to see what you make of them.

In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, “I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists.” In a Springfield, Ill., speech, he explained, “My declarations upon this subject of negro slavery may be misrepresented, but can not be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects.” Debating with Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of … making voters or jurors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”

You say, “His Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves! That proves he was against slavery.” Lincoln’s words: “I view the matter (Emancipation Proclamation) as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.” He also wrote: “I will also concede that emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince them that we are incited by something more than ambition.” At the time Lincoln wrote the proclamation, war was going badly for the Union.

London and Paris were considering recognizing the Confederacy and considering assisting it in its war effort.
The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal declaration. It detailed where slaves were freed, only in those states “in rebellion against the United States.” Slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion — such as Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware. The hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation came in for heavy criticism. Lincoln’s own secretary of state, William Seward, said, “We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.”

Lincoln did articulate a view of secession that would have been welcomed in 1776: “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. … Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.” But that was Lincoln’s 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the war with Mexico and the secession of Texas.

Why didn’t Lincoln feel the same about Southern secession? Following the money might help with an answer. Throughout most of our history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859. What “responsible” politician would let that much revenue go?
Title: Re: American History
Post by: bigdog on February 21, 2013, 08:33:52 AM
Does this mean that Republicans will drop the "party of Lincoln" claim?
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 21, 2013, 11:36:07 AM

Based upon the last 148 years, I'd say not likely.
Title: INteresting take on Calvin Coolidge
Post by: ccp on February 28, 2013, 02:25:05 AM
Very politically incorrect.   Liberals would be pissed.   This guy was more Reagan than Reagan:
Title: Morris: How Lincoln kept the border slave states in the Union
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 08, 2013, 05:56:39 AM
Title: Slave uprisings
Post by: ccp on May 01, 2013, 09:32:11 AM
And betrayel..... a subject I have become expert in:
Title: In Churchill's footsteps
Post by: bigdog on May 20, 2013, 07:42:43 PM

From the article:

But nothing could prepare me for the wonderful surprise I received in Fulton, where I had been invited by the National Churchill Museum to give a talk. The museum commemorates Winston Churchill and the important and prescient “Iron Curtain” speech he gave at Westminster College in March 1946—one short year after victory in Europe
—warning that Stalin was on the move across Eastern Europe and that communism was an ongoing threat to the West. Harry Truman had approved the draft speech; but when the Soviets strongly objected, Truman backed off his support for Churchill’s warning.
Title: memorial day history
Post by: ccp on May 25, 2013, 09:19:57 AM

Memorial Day Home Page


Spanish Translation (by Bablefish)   French Translation (by Bablefish)   Hungarian Translation (by Veronika Nagy)

Memorial DayHistory

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of "the last Monday in May". On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

Petition powered by
To date, there has been no further developments on the bill. Please write your Representative and your Senators, urging them to support these bills. You can also contact Mr. Inouye to let him know of your support.

Visit our Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance page for more information on this issue, and for more ways you can help.

 To see what day Memorial Day falls on for the next 10 years, visit the Memorial Day Calendar page.

Sources and related links:
•Boalsburg, Pa., Birthplace of Memorial Day
•DC City Pages: History of Memorial Day
•General Logan Biography
•General Logan's General Order 11
•Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance of Memorial Day
•Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 from Duke University)
•How to Observe Memorial Day
•Luminaria Program
•Memorial Day Events - Dept of Veterans Affairs
"The Office of Public Affairs provides this page of items that may be of special interest to veterans and customers."
•The Origins of Memorial Day
•Roy, Nuhn. Portfolio: To Honor The Memory of the Departed. American History Illustrated 1982 17[3]: 20-25.

•S 189 and H.R. 1474, bills to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day.
•"S. Con. Res. 100", resolution for a National Moment of Remembrance.
•Statement on Signing the National Moment of Remembrance Act
•Taps Information
•Today in History: May 30
American Memory project, The Library of Congress
•VFW's "Buddy" Poppy program
•Waterloo, Official Birthplace of Memorial Day


© 1994 - 2009 SUVCW & David Merchant
 Updated 4 April 2009
Title: real 54th regimen hero
Post by: ccp on May 25, 2013, 08:03:33 PM
July 18th 1863 - Fort Wagner - planting the colors on the fort:
Title: medal of honor recipients - WWII
Post by: ccp on May 26, 2013, 08:09:42 AM
Title: medal of honor recipients - Korea
Post by: ccp on May 26, 2013, 08:11:00 AM
Title: medal of honor recipients - Vietnam
Post by: ccp on May 26, 2013, 08:12:26 AM
Title: medal of honor recipients - all wars
Post by: ccp on May 26, 2013, 08:14:07 AM
Title: American History - Movie: Lincoln, Spielberg, 2012
Post by: DougMacG on June 10, 2013, 08:50:47 AM
I am not a movie buff and I am almost a year late on this; I just saw it yesterday.  Good movie.  Portrays Lincoln as sharp and persuasive, but makes the implication he has the ethical principles of an ordinary, scoundrel politician.  The movie picked a very narrow timeframe and focused only on one issue, House passage of the 13th amendment to abolish slavery.  I am surprised Hollywood showed so many people that it was Republicans who were hellbent on ending slavery.  Do any black voters today know that?  Lousy ending. (Assassination)

My parting thought from the movie "Lincoln" is that some up and coming, conservative filmmaker (oxymoron?) had better step up with great acting, writing, cinematography and financing and do the definitive "Reagan" movie before someone like Spielberg gets to it.
Title: The Forgotten Gettysburg Addresser
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 22, 2013, 04:38:06 PM
The Forgotten Gettysburg Addresser
Despite Edward Everett's considerable gifts, the world has little noted what he said about a certain battle in 1863.

One-hundred-and-fifty years later, you've still got to feel a little bad for him:

The poor guy who wrote and delivered the Gettysburg Address, and who then saw himself and his speech fade anonymously into the mists of history.

No, not that Gettysburg Address. The other one. The one that was supposed to be the main event that day.

The man's name was Edward Everett, and his story serves as a melancholy lesson for any of us who become cocksure that we're about to cross the finish line as the winner in something: our work, our play, any of the things at which we hope to succeed and prevail.

(Edward Everett (1794-1865)).

Everett had every right to be certain that he was going to be celebrated. He had gotten the prime job—he had been selected to be the featured speaker on that hallowed day in 1863 in Gettysburg, Pa.—and he had written a wonderful speech. And then . . .

The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg is July 1; sesquicentennial commemorations in that Pennsylvania town have been going on for much of the year and will culminate in the fall with ceremonies memorializing Abraham Lincoln's magnificent speech on Nov. 19, 1863. Everett will be an afterthought at best.

He was quite an accomplished fellow. He had been president of Harvard University, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. senator, governor of Massachusetts, U.S. secretary of state, minister to Great Britain. He was also, by all accounts, a terrific speechmaker.

So when, in 1863, the national cemetery in Gettysburg was being dedicated, Edward Everett was a natural choice to be the day's billboarded speaker. It wasn't clear that President Lincoln would even be in attendance. When Lincoln did agree to come to Gettysburg, his role was defined as making "dedicatory remarks." The day's "oration"—that's how it was described—was reserved for Everett.

He nailed it. He had prepared meticulously. He had researched and recreated in lovely yet searing language the facts and meanings of the Battle of Gettysburg. He spoke for two hours, and used all of his considerable skills to mesmerize the audience. He would have been justly confident in believing that the first words of his address would go down in history:

"Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature. . . ."

Great stuff. And, a couple of rousing hours later, here was his windup: "But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country, there will be no brighter page than that which relates the Battles of Gettysburg."

As Everett returned to his seat, he might well have assumed that he had just delivered a speech for the ages. By my count of his text, he had spoken 13,508 words.

Then, after some music, Lincoln stood up. A two-to-three-minute speech. Fewer than 280 words.

It's not difficult to understand why some people (falsely) assumed that Lincoln might have jotted the speech on the back of an envelope on the train from Washington to Gettysburg. He was finished almost before he began.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

And, not much more than a blink of an eye later:

". . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

All of Everett's preparation, all of his dramatic elocution, all of his talent and intellect and exhaustive research . . . destined to be forgotten.

He received a consolation prize: Lincoln gave him one of the five copies of what, forevermore, would be known as the Gettysburg Address.

To historians—at least those who elect to notice Everett—his own speech is routinely referred to as the Gettysburg Oration.

Whatever his private thoughts might have been as he listened to Lincoln's brief remarks (a fleeting "Is that all you got?" would have been understandable), Everett was gracious in the aftermath. The next day, he wrote to Lincoln, expressing admiration for the "eloquent simplicity & appropriateness" of the president's speech: "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Lincoln was magnanimous (he could afford to be). He wrote back to Everett: "I am pleased to know that, in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure."

One line in Lincoln's speech did turn out to be half-right: "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here. . . ." Not true for Lincoln's words; true enough for Everett's.

We would all do well to keep in mind: Sometimes, regardless of how diligently you prepare, of how splendidly you do your job, of how thoroughly you consider every aspect of the task, you get blindsided by fate.

It would be convenient to be able to neatly conclude this tale by reporting that, the fame of the Gettysburg Address notwithstanding, two years later Lincoln went to Ford's Theatre and saw his days on Earth come to an untimely end, while Everett, though his speech was consigned to obscurity, went on to live a full and happy life.

But in fact, in January 1865 Everett came down with a bad cold while making another speech, this one in Boston, and died soon after. Lincoln outlived him by three months.

Sometimes, a guy just can't catch a break.

Mr. Greene, a columnist and commentator for CNN, is the author, most recently, of "Late Edition: A Love Story" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2010).
Title: WSJ: Pickett's Other Charge
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 22, 2013, 04:43:50 PM
Second post

Pickett's Other Charge
On the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, a look at the family secrets its officers kept

With the arrival in a few weeks of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, it is worth pausing to note not just the event itself but the history of its commemoration. It was only in July 1887—a full generation after the end of the Civil War—that the anniversary of the battle received national attention for the first time. Reunited in southern Pennsylvania with their former Union foes, Confederate veterans walked once again across the field of Pickett's Charge and shook hands with the Northerners along the old stone wall on Cemetery Ridge.
[image] Scala/Art Resource

Gen. George E. Pickett lived with a Native American woman out West and had a son with her.

Gen. George Edward Pickett's young widow, Sallie Corbell Pickett, was "the center of attraction on the field" that day, according to the New York Times. She signed autographs and passed out daisies and clover heads to the Virginian veterans as they started their mile-long march toward the Union line. The survivors of Pickett's division had chipped in 25 cents each to help pay for Sallie's travel expenses.

The reunion launched Sallie Pickett on a career as a professional widow, promoting her husband's fame and protecting his reputation for courage and chivalry. But on that July day in 1887, Sallie was also harboring a family secret: George Pickett had lived with a young Native American woman before the war, when he was stationed in the remote Washington Territory, and their mixed-race son, James Tilton Pickett, was now demanding his share of the general's property.

Sallie Pickett could not afford the professional and personal scandal that would emerge in the postbellum South if it became known that her revered husband had crossed racial lines and had a secret "half-breed" son. What was a young widow to do?

She hid the truth. And the story of "Jimmie" Pickett remained hidden for decades until a local Washington state historian, who knew Jimmie personally, mentioned him in her book in the 1920s. By then Sallie had fabricated her own story to explain why there was an Indian boy out west bearing the name of her husband. According to her 1908 article in McClure's Magazine, George Pickett had "made the local Indians his friends, learned their languages, built schools for them and taught them…. One of the old chiefs insisted upon making him a present of one of his children."

Her coverup was part of a larger conspiracy of silence among U.S. officers who had taken Indian "wives" and abandoned them and their children when they moved back east to fight in 1861. Private diaries and local records reveal how common sexual relationships were between white officers and native girls in the Washington Territory before the war.

At Fort Bellingham, Robert F. Davis—the nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis—had an Indian "wife" and son, and Edmund C. Fitzhugh—later Pickett's adjutant at Gettysburg—lived with two native women and had three children with them. Future Union officers were no different: Philip Sheridan—later cavalry commander for the Army of the Potomac—shared his bed with a Rogue River Indian girl in Oregon; James W. Forsyth—Sheridan's chief of staff and later commander of the 7th Cavalry at the Wounded Knee massacre—had a Lummi lover near the San Juan Islands.

In addition to sexual attraction, mutual economic and political benefits encouraged officers to enter into intimate partnerships with Native Americans. From the officer's perspective, an Indian "wife" could serve as an emissary between the fort and local tribes and could warn when danger appeared on the horizon. From the tribal chief's perspective, an arranged interracial "marriage" brought prestige and better economic and political ties with the incoming conquering army.

George Pickett, like other officers, almost certainly did not marry his Indian "wife" in an American civil or religious ceremony. A civil marriage between a white man and an Indian woman was illegal after 1855 in the Washington Territory, when the legislature in Olympia passed antimiscegenation laws prohibiting marriages "when either of the parties thereto is a white person and the other is a negro or Indian, or a person with one-half or more negro or Indian blood."

Most officers' Native American mistresses and children left few records behind. Jimmie Pickett, however, was an exception. Jimmie's mother had died soon after childbirth, and George Pickett sent his son, along with $100, to a childless white couple farming near Olympia. After George Pickett went east to join the Army of Northern Virginia, he never saw Jimmie again, never wrote to him and never sent additional financial support.

But Jimmie's foster parents sent him to Union Academy in Olympia in 1876 and later scrimped and saved to send him to the San Francisco Institute of Design. Jimmie eventually became a successful artist and an illustrator for the Portland Oregonian and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Gen. Pickett died unexpectedly of "gastric fever" on July 30, 1875. The 17-year-old Jimmie received his first letter from Sallie announcing the death. This sparked a warm correspondence between them that lasted until it was discovered that George Pickett had owned land near Fort Bellingham, prompting questions about inheritance.

Sallie had acknowledged that Jimmie was her husband's son, but now she insisted that he was a bastard and had no inheritance rights. Jimmie fought back, working with a local Bellingham lawyer who provided free legal advice. Jimmie had a decent case, for although his mother and father were not legally married, the antimiscegenation laws had been changed by the Republican-controlled legislature and a local court had recently ruled that mixed-race children of common-law marriages could be considered legitimate.

Desperate to avoid a scandal, Sallie settled out of court, giving up her claim to the property in exchange for $5, while still maintaining that she and her son, George E. Pickett II, were "the only heirs at law" of Gen. Pickett. Jimmie again fought back in his own affidavit that insisted that the general had three "heirs at law," "his wife Sallie C. Pickett and his two sons George E. Pickett and this affiant."

Jimmie immediately sold the land for $750. But he did not get to enjoy his inheritance for long. He died unmarried and childless in Portland from typhoid fever in 1889. Sallie's career as a professional widow, using what she considered a more elegant pen name, LaSalle, continued for another 40 years. Her popular 1899 book about her husband's military experiences, "Pickett and His Men" was later determined to contain significant plagiarism, and she published two editions of her wartime letters from Gen. Pickett that are now recognized to contain many forgeries.

LaSalle became a significant figure straddling the Lost Cause and Reconciliation movements, traveling widely on the national lecture circuit. She published many articles about her husband and the joys of Southern plantation life, including a nine-part series in Cosmopolitan. LaSalle Corbell Pickett was not a stickler for the truth.

The story of Jimmie Pickett highlights the contrast between the Old South, where the widow of a famous general could not publicly acknowledge his half-Indian son, and the more progressive Northwest frontier, where a young man of mixed race could be integrated into white society.
—Scott D. Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Samuel K. Sagan is a senior at Crystal Springs Upland School in Hillsborough, Calif.
Title: The choices made at Gettysburg still reverberate
Post by: bigdog on July 01, 2013, 02:42:17 PM
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg.

But before what is remembered as Pickett’s Charge — mostly a brisk 19-minute walk — headed toward Cemetery Ridge, choices made by Lee and some of his generals had put victory beyond the reach of valor. They were, however, choices.

Books about battles, historian Allen C. Guelzo says tartly, have “acquired among my academic peers a reputation close to pornography,” war being, in their eyes, chiefly a manifestation of American savagery. But, he says dryly, one cannot discuss the 19th century without discussing the Civil War era, whose “singular event was a war.” And one conducted, not least at Gettysburg, with an “amateurism” — a “bewildered, small-town incompetence” — that magnified its bloodiness.
Title: and another one from Noonan
Post by: ccp on July 03, 2013, 07:38:17 PM
It appears Abe spent some months formulating and polishing his speech destined for the Ages.   

And he didn't need a teleprompter let alone a speechwriter.
Title: WSJ: The Internal Enemy
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 15, 2013, 06:12:44 PM
Book Review: 'The Internal Enemy' by Alan Taylor
Slaves were feared in Virginia, yet they wanted to be Americans much more than to murder them.


Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, so the story goes, were the architects of liberty during the nation's formative years. These Virginians, with their insistent beliefs in American independence and self-determination, were the true stewards of freedom in the Early Republic.

To Alan Taylor this is as much myth as Parson Weems's account of George Washington and the cherry tree. The ideals of freedom expressed so eloquently by Jefferson and Madison were betrayed by their actions. By defending slavery and protecting their economic interests, the men we venerate as the Founding Fathers rendered their proclaimed commitment to liberty shrill and hollow. In his impressively researched and beautifully crafted "The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832," Mr. Taylor introduces us to far less familiar custodians of American liberty—slaves and former slaves like Bartlet Shanklyn, Jack Ditcher and Jeremiah West.
The Internal Enemy

By Alan Taylor
Norton, 605 pages, $35

Enlarge Image
Getty Images

The Cocoon of Dread An 1831 engraving of Nat Turner's revolt.

In the past two decades, Mr. Taylor has established himself as one of our leading historians of the Early Republic, with a particular mastery of the social, economic and political intricacies of daily and national life. But he is also a gifted writer, and one committed to narrative history. His main focus here is the War of 1812, but he admirably contextualizes it with a brilliant account of slavery in Virginia during and after the Revolution. He sets out to explore the "causes, course, and consequences of the flight by slaves to join and help the British" during the war years of 1812-15 in an effort to "reveal the social complexities of slavery in Virginia from the American Revolution through Nat Turner's revolt in 1831."

Mr. Taylor shows us that the greatest promoters of liberty in America were the very ones profiting from slavery. The Revolutionary War only tightened the relationship between slavery and freedom. Thanks to slave births, Virginia's enslaved population swelled from 210,000 at the beginning of the war to 236,000 at its conclusion, and slavery remained "as prosperous and important as ever." White Virginians were among the most vocal critics of Britain before and during the revolution and were particular in deploying the language of bondage to make their points. George Washington thought the British aimed to "make us as tame and abject slaves as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway." Men like Jefferson and Madison blasted parliamentary taxes as "chains of slavery" but fought to preserve ownership of two-fifths of the state's population. In this, they saw no contradiction.

Virginia's planters were particularly incensed that British commanders encouraged slaves to flee to their lines and freedom. It didn't occur to them that the 800 Virginia slaves who ran away in 1776 were embracing a version of liberty more ecumenical in scope than the one peddled by the Founding Fathers. Little wonder that around 6,000 slaves fled Virginia plantations during the revolution, many of them finding freedom with the British, whom they saw as champions rather than oppressors.

But for the rest of the enslaved of Virginia, Mr. Taylor shows, the revolution was a calamity. Runaways recovered from the British were sold. Twenty-three slaves escaped Jefferson's Monticello, and he sold all six that he managed to reclaim, principally to punish them for disloyalty. Even more havoc was wrought among slave families when the newly minted Americans discarded the old British laws governing the inheritance of property, abolishing primogeniture and entail. As property that could now be divided among multiple heirs, slave families were suddenly split asunder. The sale of slaves increased after the revolution, with at least 100,000 Virginia slaves sold between 1790 and 1810. The system of slavery emerged stronger after 1776; slaves and their families more vulnerable.

During the War of 1812, Virginia's slaves subscribed to the old adage, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. *Drawing upon memories of the Revolutionary War, they were alert for opportunities to run to British lines and liberty. Roughly 2,400 slaves escaped during the three years of war, and it is on this relatively unexplored exodus that Mr. Taylor trains his eye.

Initially, the British worried about feeding, clothing and freeing such refugees. But they quickly proved their worth as excellent scouts, happy to share their detailed knowledge of Virginia's shoreline, countryside and military positions. The runaways compromised Virginians' "security by identifying militia weak points and hidden shipping to the British." They also empowered the Royal Navy. "Formerly wary of the Chesapeake landscape, the British gained confidence after they recruited runaways for guides," writes Mr. Taylor. The British then did the unthinkable, enlisting 400 male runaways into a special battalion, the Colonial Marines. These troops helped the British strike into Virginia's interior and, eventually, to apply the hard hand of war to the nation's capital.

While the British saw the runaways as a way to strengthen their military position, the slaves were careful to get assurances of their future liberty. In 1814, once it became clear that the runaways were militarily invaluable and essential to securing fresh provisions for the army—once, in other words they had taught the British just how indispensable they were—the ex-slaves insisted that they be allowed to bring their families so that they too would be free. Mr. Taylor identifies a two-stage process here: "In the first, a pioneer runaway made initial contact with the British, and then in the second stage, he returned home to liberate kin and friends." The British, now dependent on the refugees, had little choice but to agree to harbor entire families on their ships.

Slaveholding Virginians loathed the British for encouraging the runaways, which was not only potentially economically ruinous but also perceived as a direct attack on their homes and way of life. Whites lived in a constant "cocoon of dread" of slave revolt. Slaves were their "internal enemy," their presence making planters a fretful, panicky bunch, quick to resort to terrible violence to defend their world. This skittishness clouded the judgment of the masters and blinded them to the basic fact that slaves weren't seeking revenge but, rather, equality and opportunity. "Blacks," says Mr. Taylor, "wanted to be American citizens rather than to murder them." This was what the British understood, and they believed freed slaves fully capable of functioning responsibly in civil society—albeit only as members of the lower rungs.

Americans were deeply offended when the British captured, impressed and whipped white American sailors. The British, they howled, were treating them like slaves and blurring racial lines critical to preserving white, republican freedom. Little had changed in the slaveholding mind-set since the revolution largely because these "otherwise honorable men" still saw the maintenance of slavery "as their duty." These lovers of liberty, Mr. Taylor writes, "sustained an exploitative and encompassing economic system dedicated to property in humans, the pursuit of profit, the rights of creditors, and the interests of heirs" because they saw "no other choice." To them, the institution of slavery and their own liberty were inseparable.

The war resulted in liberty for thousands of Virginia's slaves and their families. The British transported the bulk of refugees—almost 3,000 of them—to the barren soil of Nova Scotia, the Royal Navy's principal North American base, where the former slaves and their families eked out a living. Here they pondered the meaning of their liberty and explained it in letters to their erstwhile masters in Virginia. Bartlet Shanklyn wrote to his: "When I was with you I worked very hard and you neither g[ave] me money nor any satisfaction but sin[ce] I have been hear I am able to make Gold and Silver as well as you." Or, as Jeremiah West wrote to his former Virginia master from Halifax in 1818: "Thank God i can enjoy all comforts under the flag of old England and Here i Shall remain." Jack Ditcher, a slave implicated in an insurrection plot in 1800, summed up the sentiments of many when he declared, "We have as much right to fight for our liberty as any men."

If "The Internal Enemy" makes Virginia's Founding Fathers look appallingly self-absorbed, it also makes them look distinctly human. We tend to ask a great deal of our Founders, placing them on pedestals and expecting utter consonance between their words and actions. In so doing, we have come perilously near to dehumanizing them, in the same way historians used to depict slaves as objects rather than living, thinking agents.

Jefferson and Madison and the legion of slaveholding Virginians were manifestly men of their time and place. Like slaveholders elsewhere, they were on the cusp of momentous historical change. They had been schooled in a world where bondage and unfree labor were historically and geographically the norm. Not so with Virginia's runaways during the War of 1812. They bequeath us a version of freedom born in bondage and refined in the act of escaping from slavery. As such, they offer us a powerful and authentic iteration of the responsibilities and meaning of liberty, one arguably more enduring than the version espoused by the other, more conventional Founders.
Title: WSJ: Founding Patients
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 01, 2013, 01:06:09 PM


George Washington died in 1799 following a horse ride in the rain. The precise cause of death is uncertain, but it was probably an infection, strep or staph. Epiglottitis followed, making it hard for him to swallow or breathe. And the medical treatment he received from his neighbor and physician, Dr. James Craik, only made things worse: The patient was bled four times, removing approximately half of his blood supply.

As Jeanne E. Abrams shows in "Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health," Washington's treatment was typical of the state of medical science and technology in those days. Indeed, Washington was far from the only Founding Father who had to endure primitive and dangerous medicine. All of the Founders, Ms. Abrams writes, "experienced dramatic and often tragic personal encounters with disease and epidemics."

The book chronicles the health, well-being and interactions with medicine of the Founding Fathers, to give us a sense both of the medical treatment of the time and of the Founders' thoughts on health care. After an introductory chapter on the state of health in revolutionary America, Ms. Abrams provides chapters on each of the Founders that she covers: George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John and Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. She concludes with some lessons we can learn from this tour.

The founding generation's afflictions ranged from the annoying to the fatal: All four of Martha Washington's children, and George Washington's stepchildren, died of disease. Washington's father and brother died young, as did his sister and half-sister. Washington himself was afflicted at different times by smallpox, pleurisy, hemorrhoids, dysentery and possibly tuberculosis. Franklin suffered gout, gallstones, psoriasis and frequent colds. Jefferson outlived five of his six children. Dolley Todd's husband, John Todd, died from yellow fever in 1793. Were it not for this tragedy, she wouldn't have become the wife of James Madison and one of our best-remembered first ladies.

Our fourth president, Madison had it particularly tough. In addition to an awful stomach and malaria, he may have had epilepsy. He was also terribly frail, at 5-foot-4 and less than 100 pounds. Despite all this, he managed to live to 85.

By Jeanne E. Abrams
(NYU, 306 pages, $30)

The Founders were aware that the medicine of their day left much to be desired. Jefferson observed that doctors did "more harm than good." His prodigious reading included works on science and medicine. Jefferson knew medicine as well as many doctors of the time. This may not have been that difficult: Of the 3,500 or so doctors in revolutionary America, only 10% had degrees. Throughout their careers, both Franklin and Jefferson sought to promote the use of scientific methods in medicine. Jefferson was also a critic of the barbarity of bloodletting, writing in a letter in 1814 that "in his theory of bleeding . . . I was very much opposed to my friend [Dr. Benjamin] Rush, whom I greatly loved; but who has done much harm, in the sincerest persuasion that he was preserving life."

The problem of primitive medicine would continue to plague American politics through the 19th century. James A. Garfield, our 20th president, died in 1881 after his doctors probed his bullet hole with unsterile fingers and metal instruments. The wound, if it had been left untreated, would likely have not been fatal. It wasn't the would-be assassin who killed him—it was the horrific medical treatment he received.

Ms. Abrams, a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Denver, also explores the Founders' approaches to what we would now call health policy. The farsighted Washington understood that the most pernicious threat to his army during the Revolutionary War wasn't the British. It was disease. He tried to expose his men to weaker forms of smallpox and strictly enforced rules that led to a healthier camp environment. As president, John Adams signed legislation that led to the creation of the Public Health Service and the post of surgeon general. Jefferson insisted that students at the University of Virginia, which he founded, be taught the basics of medicine. Franklin invented bifocals and the first American catheter.

Such innovations were sorely needed. The public-health system in early America was abysmal. As Ms. Abrams explains, local legislators in Philadelphia proposed clearing the bad air that was thought to bring yellow fever by firing cannons into the sky. With ideas such as these governing public health, it seems miraculous that any of the Founders lived as long as they did.

The book stumbles a bit toward the end, as the author tries to tell us what the Founders would have thought of health-care policy in the 21st century. This is always a dangerous move, and Ms. Abrams steps on the biggest health-care land mine of them all: Obamacare. According to the author, "the founders' commitment to the public good undoubtedly meant that they would've looked with approval on providing the opportunity to access good health care for all Americans." This is a dubious claim at best, made worse by the fact that there is no way to verify it. The Founders carry so much sway today precisely because they were visionaries whose view of limited government and the ingenuity of the people helped redefine the world. But it is presumptuous to say definitively where they would have stood on any single modern controversy.

Fortunately, this kind of speculation takes place only on the last page of "Revolutionary Medicine," and the rest is a readable and eye-opening account. We know so much about the Founders, but we rarely pause to think just how difficult "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" can be when you lack a good doctor or science-based care.

Mr. Troy, a former deputy secretary of health and human services, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. His latest book is "What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.
Title: Retouched Civil War fotos
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 07, 2013, 08:41:51 AM
Title: Morris: The Start of the Cold War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 19, 2013, 11:02:54 AM
Title: What if JFK was not shot?
Post by: ccp on October 23, 2013, 09:09:06 AM
I guess the only thing one can say for sure.  More White House interns would have been essentially taken advantage of.  That said.  Oswald unwittingly won big time.  Thanks to him we have had the Great Society, the anti-US counterculture of the 60's and  a march forward towards a more socialist society.  Would Vietnam have turned out like it did?  Who knows?  I don't think so.  Would we have had Civil Rights like we did?  Maybe not.  I agree with it now in some form or another.   Kennedy was not a big government guy according to this article.  Interesting he stiffed the unions.  Why didn't West Virginia mobster unions serve him up the 1960 primary win?
All conjecture.  All water under the bridge but interesting to think what if.....

What if Kennedy lived?
Jeff Greenfield
By Jeff Greenfield October 21, 2013 12:15 PM
If Kennedy Lived

Jeff Greenfield's new book, "If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History" will be published Tuesday, October 22 by G.P. Putnam's Sons. This is an excerpt from the book's introduction.

It was Thursday, July 14, 1960, in Room 9333 of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, and Kenny O’Donnell was furious at the man he had just helped nominate to be president of the United States.

Again and again, Sen. John F. Kennedy had assured the unions, the civil rights leaders, the liberals and intellectuals whose support he was seeking that Texas Sen. Lyndon Johnson would not be his choice for vice president. Yet now, little more than 12 hours after the Massachusetts Democrat had won a first ballot nomination with a razor-thin margin of five delegates, he had offered the second slot on the ticket to Johnson — and Johnson had accepted.

“I was so furious I could hardly talk,” O’Donnell remembered years later. “I thought of the promises we had made … the assurances we had given. I felt that we had been double crossed.”

So O’Donnell demanded to confront Kennedy face to face and the nominee complied, taking O’Donnell into the bathroom, and assuring him that the job would actually diminish Johnson’s power by placing him in a powerless, impotent job.

“I’m 43 years old,” Kennedy said, “and I’m the healthiest candidate for president in the United States. You’ve traveled with me enough to know that I’m not going to die in office. So the vice presidency doesn’t mean anything.”

The man who gave his disaffected aide this reassurance had lost a brother and a sister in airplane crashes; had almost died when his ship was destroyed in the South Pacific during World War II; had been stricken with an illness so serious in 1947 that he had been given the last rites of his church; had undergone a life-threatening operation in 1954 to save him from invalidism, an operation so serious that he was away from his Senate seat for nine months; who was living with a form of Addison’s disease — hidden from the press and public — that required a regular dose of powerful medicine; and who lived virtually every day in pain.

For a man so often described as “fatalistic” — who on the day of his murder mused to his wife, and to that same Kenny O’Donnell, about the ease with which “a man with a rifle” could kill him — Kennedy’s blithe assurance about his invulnerability to fate seemed astonishing. (If nothing else, his immersion in history must have taught him that seven presidents had died in office.)

Maybe, though, Kennedy’s words were not so astonishing. They reflect an impulse deep within the human spirit: to push aside the power of random chance, in favor of a more orderly, less chaotic universe. What has happened, the argument goes, is what had to happen. Even for someone like John Kennedy, who had seen sudden, violent death take two of his siblings, and come close to taking him more than once, had dismissed the whole idea of considering that possibility when choosing the man to stand “a heartbeat away.”

For most historians, the idea of lingering over the roads that might have been taken, but for a small twist of fate, to project what might be different about our lives, or our country, or world, seems at best a parlor game, at worst a fool’s errand, like asking “What if Spartacus had a plane?” That is the view that most historians share, in dismissing “counter-factual” history, the “what-if?” questions.

It is, however, not a unanimous view. In his book “Virtual History,” Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson offers a different approach: to examine “plausible or probable alternatives … only those alternatives which we can show on the basis of contemporary evidence that contemporaries actually considered.” It is an approach he calls “virtual” history, and it is anchored in the concept of “plausibility.”

This is the approach I’ve taken in “If Kennedy Lived,” a book that tries to answer in fictional terms a question that is very much alive today: What if John Kennedy had not died 50 years ago in Dallas? The small alteration of history that saves his life, in my account, is no high drama; it is, simply, a minor meteorological matter; had the rain not stopped in Dallas minutes before the president’s arrival, the bubble-top would have remained on the Presidential limousine, greatly improving the odds of Kennedy’s survival.

And after that tiny twist of fate saved the president? Any speculation about the alternative history has to put aside political ideology, or personal affection or distate for JFK, and turn to what we know about his beliefs, impulses and character. For me, for instance, his innate caution, his skepticism about Vietnam — expressed long before he’d become president — his distrust of his military advisors’ advice and his fear of miscalculation and misguided assumptions that shaped his behavior during the Cuban missile crisis all point to the likelihood that he would have disengaged.

But his political calculations, his fear of being tagged with a “Who Lost Vietnam” label, would have made him disengage by stealth, rather than by an open acknowledgement that victory was beyond our power. And a 1960s with no massive war in Vietnam would have meant a very different counterculture, one where “sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" still emerged, but where convulsive violence did not. In short, Woodstock, yes; Altamont, no.

Similarly, knowing JFK had little legislative skill and few ties to the congressional power brokers (as opposed to Lyndon Johnson) made it far less likely that he could have passed the groundbreaking Civil Rights Act of 1964, or pushed a Great Society agenda through the Congress, even if he had wished to. (And his skepticism about ambitious government programs might have kept him from even proposing so grand — or grandiose — an idea).

Beyond questions of policy, there are more personal matters: Would his extramarital sex life have been threatened with exposure? In fact, it nearly became a public matter in the weeks before his assassination, and had such exposure been a threat after Dallas, history tells us the Kennedys would have worked to keep the story quiet by means fair and foul. (If you doubt this, look at what the administration did in 1962 to force steel companies to toll back their price hikes. “Abuse of power” is not too strong a term.)

All this is by way of saying that alternative history cannot be hagiography, nor “pathography.” Anyone seeking to imagine an eight-year Kennedy presidency has to come to grips with his strengths and weaknesses, his admirable and deplorable character traits, in trying to determine how a change in the weather in Dallas would have changed — and not changed — one of the most turbulent periods in our history.
Title: The real Lone Ranger was black
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 29, 2013, 08:34:37 PM
Title: Truman saves Europe
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 02, 2013, 08:44:55 AM
Title: Interesting details from the American Revolution on the Glenn Beck show.
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 12, 2013, 08:14:34 AM
Title: Morris: History of the Korean War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 18, 2013, 04:45:22 AM
Title: WSJ: JFK was a conservative
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 18, 2013, 05:32:30 AM
Exposing the Myth of JFK's Politics
Liberals decried him as president, then rewrote the record after Dallas.
By L. Gordon Crovitz
Nov. 17, 2013 5:57 p.m. ET

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's assassination, a surprising fact has been rediscovered: In his time, he was not considered a liberal.

"Understanding Kennedy as a political conservative may make liberals uncomfortable, by crowning conservatism with the halo of Camelot," Ira Stoll writes in his new book, " JFK, Conservative." Yet "it could make conservatives uncomfortable, too—many of them have long viscerally despised the entire Kennedy family, especially John F. Kennedy's younger brother Ted."

Mr. Stoll makes a strong case that in 1960 "the anti-Communist, anti-big government candidate was John F. Kennedy. The one touting government programs and higher salaries for public employees was Richard Nixon, " he writes.

JFK's false image as a government-loving peacenik was created "partly because of the work of liberal historians, partly as a result of shifts in American partisanship," Mr. Stoll writes. (Disclosure: I'm on the board of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published "JFK, Conservative.") The best-selling biographies of the president after his death were by two of his more left-wing advisers, Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

It's often forgotten how troubled left-liberals were by JFK. New York Times NYT +1.87% columnist Tom Wicker disdained as "bellicose" his Inaugural Address pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden" to defend freedom. Former Democratic aide Chris Matthews understood "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country" as "a hard Republican-sounding slap at the welfare state."

After making tariff reduction his top legislative goal for 1962, Kennedy announced that "the most urgent task confronting the Congress in 1963" was cutting marginal income-tax rates—not an antipoverty program or a civil rights law. "The soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now," he said. Liberal adviser John Kenneth Galbraith reported that Kennedy told him to "shut up about my opposition to tax cuts."

Kennedy's tax cuts were even to the right of the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which worried that "the economic impact of lower taxes is a guess at best." But he was right. The tax cuts, enacted after his death, created years of strong economic growth. The editorial page later championed supply-side economics, and Ronald Reagan cited JFK's precedent in embracing the idea.

In 1981, Sorensen admitted that "most of us and the press and historians have, for one reason or another, treated Kennedy as being much more liberal than he so regarded himself at the time." This admission was made only in private, at a meeting of administration veterans at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Likewise, Kennedy's Treasury secretary, Douglas Dillon, called JFK "fiscally conservative," but only in a speech to the Century Association, a private club in New York City, in 1993.

"It was too late," Mr. Stoll said in an interview. "The myth had already been created." Asked whether the increased transparency of our digital era would make it hard to repeat the spin job that portrayed Kennedy as a liberal, Mr. Stoll said: "The Internet does make fact-checking easier and deception harder."

Mr. Stoll discovered via the Internet that Sorensen's and Schlesinger's biographies reversed the chronology of two key foreign-policy speeches to make it look as if the president drifted more dovish. But JFK's later speech, at the Berlin Wall, was hard-line. He referred to communism as an "evil system" and gloated that free countries "have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in." Reagan used "evil empire" and began his "Tear Down This Wall" speech by saying, "Twenty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin."

The Internet led Mr. Stoll to a startling quote about Harold Christoffel, a United Auto Workers official who was sentenced to prison for lying to Congress about communist influence on a strike at an Allis-Chalmers plant in Wisconsin that made turbines for Navy destroyers. "The 1941 Allis-Chalmers strike was a commie strike," said Massachusetts Rep. John F. Kennedy. The source was a 1947 issue of the Dispatcher, the newspaper of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Mr. Stoll said it wasn't in the catalog of the Wisconsin Historical Society, but "a Google GOOG -0.16% search did turn up the LinkedIn profile of the intern who listed on her profile the experience of having processed and cataloged the papers for the Society." That led Mr. Stoll to the old news story.

Getting history right is important: The political tradition of economic growth, limited government and peace through strength worked for JFK and Reagan, two of the most popular postwar presidents.
Title: Beck: Shay's Rebellion
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 21, 2013, 02:00:55 PM
A Day That “Unexpectedly Changed America”

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM PST

Glenn Beck’s new book, “Miracle and Massacres“, is about helping people connect with the true, untold history of America. In chapter two, Glenn tells the story of Shays’ Rebellion, a conflict that crystallized the flaws of America under the Articles of Confederation and led to the Constitutional Convention.

Pick up an autographed copy of “Miracles and Massacres” by Glenn Beck HERE

Anarchy and tyranny — two radical extremes on the scale of government control. Each side has its lures and traps, and each has its advocates among those naïve or power-hungry people who still haven’t learned the hard lessons of history.

One of those lessons — an event we now remember as “Shays’ Rebellion – threatened to explode into something big enough to tear our new nation apart at the seams.

The end of the Revolutionary War was only the beginning for the young United States. There were many troubled years between 1783 and the day the final draft of the Constitution went into effect.

The foreign debt we accumulated during the revolution was enormous and, unlike today, that debt had to be paid … on time and in cash. But there was a big problem: the Articles of Confederation had created a central government so weak that it was unable to collect or even regulate taxes. That left it up to each of the 13 individual states to decide how to extract their share of what was owed from its citizens.

Massachusetts was hit particularly hard, and the farmers of that state, many of whom were veterans of the very war that had freed them from British tyranny, took the brunt of it. At the same time they were losing their homes and their land to rising taxes and foreclosure, some lacked the qualifications to even cast a vote in protest. Now, facing ruin and debtors’ prison, they felt powerless to fight back against the government policies that were bankrupting them.

When all else failed, a leader emerged to give his fellow citizens a voice — a farmer and a veteran named Daniel Shays. He organized a group of 1,500 like-minded men, and together they marched on the Springfield Courthouse, clubs and pitchforks and muskets in hand. Without firing a shot they sent the judges home and put a stop to that day’s foreclosure hearings.

It was a victory for anarchy, but it was short-lived. As word of this action spread, other pockets of resistance sprang up and similar scenes took place across western Massachusetts. As the confrontations escalated, the government responded, meeting force with force.

A final confrontation was still to come – a bloody battle that cost lives, and changed everything. But that was only a short-term consequence. The lasting impact of Shays’ Rebellion was the Constitution itself.

Designed to be strong enough to stave off anarchy, yet balanced enough to keep tyranny at bay, the Constitution handed citizens the greatest power of all — a vote in a representative republic.

Now, thanks in part to the warning triggered by a simple farmer in Massachusetts, we all sit here today with every bit of power we need to change our country … if only we’d remember how to use it.
Title: The original Alaskan gold rush
Post by: ccp on November 21, 2013, 08:36:47 PM|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=discover%20channel&__utmv=-&__utmk=49219558#chapter2
Title: second post on this thread
Post by: ccp on November 21, 2013, 11:12:18 PM
Some interesting photos circa Mexican-American War 1847.  The bottom one is reportedly the burial site of Henry Clay's son killed in the war 1847 age 36.  He served a term in Congress from Kentucky:
Title: third post
Post by: ccp on November 21, 2013, 11:20:43 PM
Two amazing photos.  One the first known action battle photo ; 1870  I presume during the Franco Prussian war.  To the right is one soldier apparently at the moment he is shot.

Another photo from 1847 showing American troops in Mexico.

Now we see war and death in our living rooms all the time.
Title: Morris: How Truman got re-elected in 1948
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 22, 2013, 05:49:23 AM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on November 22, 2013, 08:49:51 AM

Dick's radio show is excellent.   I am not sure if it is national.  He pissed me off with his dead wrong prediction for the '12 election.  Yet he is extraordinarily insightful and does have very interesting talking points which I do not see or hear anywhere else.   I think we should continue to listen to him.

Interesting history lesson on how Truman got elected.  The democrats today are going to try the EXACT same strategy.   Balkanize the country pull on female heart strings, play up the rights issue for Latinos Gays and all the rest.  Then pass as many bills in the Senate.  Maybe as Harkin calls change the rules to all legislation in the Senate, then sit back and call Congress the "do nothing Congress" as the economy flounders.   All the while The grafter Clinton crew will be all over the media map drumming into our heads like the mediocre pop songs today over and over again how she is for getting things done and working with the other side.   Bill will be out there reminding us how the economy was better (thanks to a boom in tech - all which crashed just months after he left) and how he crossed the aisle to fix Medicaid (he was kicking and screaming and did so only when the polls instructed him to).

Perhaps the Truman '48 election is the going to be redacted in '16.   I am also going to post this on the 2016 thread where I think the analogy is quite strong.
Title: 50th anniversary
Post by: G M on November 22, 2013, 10:17:43 AM
Of a communist murdering a conservative American president.
Title: bronx 1848
Post by: ccp on November 23, 2013, 08:18:13 PM
thought to be oldest photo of house in NYC.  1848.
Title: The origins of Thanksgiving
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2013, 10:35:55 AM
Title: Morris: Roots of the Vietnam War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 07, 2013, 10:00:59 AM


I would add that after the French defeat in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu by General Giap, that President Eisenhower started getting us involved in Indochina-- including Laos.   The promised elections out of the Geneva Accords after DBP were denied in the south by , , , Bao Dai?  Diem? because communist Ho Chi Minh would likely have won a fair election. As  JFK was coming to power, the US allies in Laos had suffered setbacks at the "Plain of Jars".  IMHO JFK increased US advisors in Vietnam in part as a face-saving move to cover that we had not done well in Laos.

Title: WSJ: American's Great Game
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 12, 2013, 09:32:21 AM
Book Review: 'America's Great Game,' by Hugh Wilford
In 1951, the CIA created a front group to promote an anti-Zionist view of the Middle East and weaken American support for Israel.
By Michael Doran
Dec. 11, 2013 7:09 p.m. ET

Kim Philby, the British turncoat who spied for the Soviet Union, described Kermit Roosevelt as "a courteous, soft-spoken Easterner with impeccable social connections, well-educated rather than intellectual, pleasant and unassuming as host and guest." Theodore Roosevelt's grandson, Philby thought, was "the last person that you would expect to be up to the neck in dirty tricks."

Roosevelt, who headed the CIA's Middle East division in the Eisenhower administration, is best remembered today for engineering the coup that toppled Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. But in "America's Great Game," Hugh Wilford reminds us that Roosevelt was also deeply involved in the Arab world. Indeed, he was the agency's foremost "Arabist." The term usually refers to State Department regional experts who were the intellectual, and often biological, descendants of American missionaries in the Arab lands. These officials were fiercely anti-Zionist, convinced that American support for Israel was a strategic blunder of the first order. This was because, as Mr. Wilford writes, they believed "in the overriding importance of American-Arab, and Christian-Muslim, relations."

The book examines the role of CIA Arabists by tracing the careers of Roosevelt and two of his comrades: his cousin Archie and Miles Copeland, an Alabama jazz musician who, like many in the early CIA, wound up at the agency through his work in its wartime precursor, the Office of Strategic Services.

The author, a historian at California State University, Long Beach, makes deft use of declassified government documents. He also draws on the personal papers and memoirs of CIA agents and their associates, sources that until now have remained almost entirely untapped. We learn, for example, that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles often ran important diplomatic missions through Roosevelt rather than normal State Department channels. But the most important of the Arabists' efforts was the attempt, in Eisenhower's first term, to turn Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's charismatic strongman, into a strategic partner—a gambit that failed miserably.

In addition to analytical rigor, Mr. Wilford has an eye for a good story. It helps that his characters were larger-than-life figures. Kermit—or "Kim," as he was known—is at the center of the drama, and his personality is captured in all of its complexity. The portrait of Archie is less well-developed, mainly because he was more tight-lipped than his cousin. The two learned early that, as grandsons of Teddy, they were expected to take the world by storm. Kim's upbringing, especially, was modeled on aristocratic life in Victorian Britain. His time as an adult, he was led to believe, would be split between writing, exploration, big-game hunting and national service.
Enlarge Image

America's Great Game

By Hugh Wilford
(Basic, 342 pages, $29.99)

By the time the two cousins were ready to strike out on their own, however, the family fortune had dwindled. Even with money, living up to the Roosevelt name was hard. Without money, it was nearly impossible. The CIA was an elegant escape from this dilemma, offering a career that combined adventure, travel and service to country—all on the salary of a government bureaucrat.

Miles Copeland, the third subject of the book, came from a very different world. Nothing in his career prior to his wartime service had prepared him for the central role he would play in American-Arab affairs or the close relations he would develop with the patrician Roosevelts. In bringing his character to life, Mr. Wilford is aided by Copeland's garrulousness. His two memoirs are probably the most revealing first-person accounts ever penned by an American covert operator.

Copeland was a full-time self-promoter, and he never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn. His first posting to the Middle East was in Syria in 1949, where he worked closely with Archie, who was then working out of Beirut. Whereas Archie, the more punctilious of the two, put together a network of agents and studiously collected reports, Copeland flew by the seat of his pants. When Archie accused him of fabricating reports to Washington, Copeland didn't deny it. "What's the difference between my fabricating reports and your letting your agents do it?" Copeland retorted. "At least mine make sense."

The Middle East in the 1950s offered surprising opportunities for such men. Kim was, for instance, the motive force behind the 1951 founding of the American Friends of the Middle East. Seemingly a private outfit dedicated to citizen diplomacy, it was actually a CIA front that sought to weaken support for the Jewish state in the U.S. You read that right: The CIA created an early counterbalance to the pro-Israel lobby, promoting an anti-Zionist reading of the region until 1967, when the radical magazine Ramparts exposed agency funding to domestic organizations.

The Roosevelt cousins, Copeland and other leading Arabists believed that a century of American missionary activity had paved the way for a Pax Americana in the region—if only the Israelis could be sidelined. The early Eisenhower administration was their heyday. Eisenhower and Dulles gave such professionals in the State Department and the CIA carte blanche. But the Arabists' massive efforts notwithstanding, Nasser drifted into the Soviet orbit and began spreading nationalist revolt throughout the region.

Why? In answering this question, Mr. Wilford rehashes the conventional wisdom, which holds that, despite its generally pro-Arab stance—including taking Egypt's side against Britain, France and Israel in the 1956 Suez Crisis—the U.S. under the Eisenhower administration still followed in the footsteps of empire and maligned the Arabs. The author might have questioned the core assumptions of the Arabists: Was sidelining Israel really the best way to create a Mideast Pax Americana? Would anti-Western Arabs led by Nasser ever have proved reliable U.S. allies?

But this criticism is a quibble. Mr. Wilford is a careful historian, with no Middle Eastern ax to grind. The main goal of "America's Great Game" is to shed light on the role of the CIA in the Middle East. It succeeds magnificently.

Mr. Doran, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense in 2007-08, is a senior fellow of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is writing a book on Eisenhower and the Middle East.
Title: American History from Revolution to Reconstruction
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 15, 2014, 10:25:59 AM

I have not had a chance to give it a thorough look, but as first look it looks to be an excellent resource site.
Title: The Wars of Reconstruction
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 18, 2014, 07:03:49 AM
Book Review: 'The Wars of Reconstruction' by Douglas R. Egerton
Reconstruction was meant to tear slavery from the American soil by stripping ex-Confederates of political power and transforming slaves into educated, landowning citizens.
Fergus M. Bordewich
Jan. 17, 2014 4:28 p.m. ET

For many Americans, Reconstruction is still remembered, if it is remembered at all, as a period of racial anarchy, political failure and the "humiliation" of the defeated South. Indeed, it is probably fair to say that Americans' impressions of the era have been shaped, if only half-consciously, by films such as "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone With the Wind"—with their caricatures of predatory Yankee carpetbaggers and venal scalawags—more than by detailed knowledge of what actually happened in the South between 1865 and 1876 and in the years that followed.

The Wars of Reconstruction
By Douglas R. Egerton
Bloomsbury, 438 pages, $30

An 1868 illustration evoking the difficulties faced by the Freedmen's Bureau, the agency responsible for transforming Southern society, in the face of white opposition, to accommodate freed slaves. The Granger Collection, New York / The Granger Collection

The history of that era has rarely if ever been as well told as it is in Douglas R. Egerton's forcefully argued and crisply written "The Wars of Reconstruction." Mr. Egerton presents a sometimes inspiring but more often deeply shocking story that reveals the nation at its best and worst, when newly freed slaves and idealists, both black and white, struggled heroically against pitiless white terrorism to preserve the rights that Union armies had won on the battlefield and that Republican members of Congress affirmed in the years after the war.

Mr. Egerton, a history professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., and the author of "Year of Meteors," a first-rate account of the 1860 election, asks us to see Reconstruction not as bad policy further doomed by corruption and incompetence but as a profoundly forward-looking program that was subverted by organized violence. Even among historians, Mr. Egerton says, the central question about Reconstruction is usually why it "failed, as opposed to ended, which hints that the process itself was somehow flawed and contributed to its own passing." In fact, he argues, the policies of Reconstruction were not only just but also economically sound, and they brought desperately needed change to the South until they were "violently overthrown by men who had fought for slavery during the Civil War and continued that battle as guerrilla partisans over the next decade."

Reconstruction was driven by a genuine moral commitment to tear slavery from American soil by its roots, by stripping former Confederates of political power while transforming former slaves into educated, landowning citizens. It also had a political dimension that was less idealistic. Republicans hoped to craft a majority for their party in the South by welding together coalitions of newly empowered blacks and Unionist whites who, some believed, were only waiting for encouragement to join hands across the racial divide.

The prospects for enlightened reform were promising in the months after the Confederate surrender in April 1865. Most Confederates understood that their power was shattered and were prepared to accept whatever terms the North offered. Mr. Egerton amasses considerable data to show that biracial Reconstruction governments were often politically dynamic and no more corrupt than their all-white counterparts. They worked hard to pass legislation and provide services that decades of antebellum planter control had neglected.

At the state level, laws expanding married women's property rights were enacted, divorce proceedings were modernized, minors were protected against parental abuse, and white fathers were made financially responsible for their mixed-race children. Black-dominated city councils paved dirt streets, established boards of health, and integrated police forces and public conveyances. Hundreds of blacks were elected to local, state and national office, including the U.S. Senate and House.

Aggressive federal land reform transformed lives. At the time of secession, almost no Southern blacks owned land; by 1880, 20% of black farmers did, a remarkable advance in the face of unremitting white hostility. Dramatic achievements were also registered in education, thanks to hundreds of black and white teachers who volunteered to work in new schools sponsored by the federal Freedmen's Bureau serving primarily black children and adults. This effort marked a revolution in a region where the education of slaves had been illegal almost everywhere. "De white folks didn' never help none of we black people to read en write no time . . . ," recalled one former slave quoted by Mr. Egerton. "If dey catch we black chillum wid a book, dey nearly bout kill us."

The Freedmen's Bureau schools quickly achieved what Mr. Egerton calls "spectacular gains in literacy." Less than two months after the end of the war, freedmen's schools were educating 2,000 children in Richmond, Va., alone. By the spring of 1866, at least 975 schools and 1,400 teachers were educating more than 90,000 students in 15 Southern states. By late 1869, more than 250,000 pupils were enrolled in freedmen's schools. As Mr. Egerton notes, literacy was imperative for black economic security: Ex-slaves needed to read in order to understand deeds and labor contracts.

Although freedmen's schools were open to whites, few attended. "Despite the absence of statewide systems in most Southern states," Mr. Egerton writes, "most parents preferred to consign their children to illiteracy rather than to see them educated alongside black children." White Families who did send their children to bureau schools were typically ostracized or physically beaten.

Mr. Egerton notes that, in the postwar years, blacks in the North, inspired by the new civil-rights legislation and the heroic example set by black Union troops during the war, were more willing to confront authority and challenge the North's own ingrained racism. Northern blacks, though not subject to the same systemic violence as in the South, were sometimes denied equal schooling, segregated in public conveyances and abused when they tried to vote.

Although defenders of the old South will doubtless disagree, Mr. Egerton makes a compelling case that American society as a whole would have benefited mightily had Reconstruction been permitted to fulfill its early promise. In particular, it would have saved the U.S. from the long Jim Crow agony of racial repression and the distortion of national politics by the South's determination to protect segregation at any price. So what went wrong?

Reconstruction's problems began with what was arguably the worst decision that Abraham Lincoln made as president, when he dropped from his 1864 re-election ticket his capable vice president, the abolitionist Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, and replaced him with Andrew Johnson, the Unionist Democrat from Tennessee. Fearing defeat in the November election, Lincoln hoped to shore up support among Northern Democrats and win the trust of voters in the reconquered areas of the seceded states.

Lincoln's assassination, a week after Appomattox, put Reconstruction in the hands of a racist, formerly slave-owning alcoholic who sabotaged efforts to extend civil rights—and physical protection—to newly freed slaves. Johnson encouraged Southern whites to reassert their power and ignored violence against freedman and white Unionists who were trying to form biracial coalitions. By executive order, he returned hundreds of thousands of acres to white planters. Republican military officers were replaced with compliant Democrats, many of whom averted their gaze when armed "white leagues" drove teachers from their schools, assassinated local black leaders, and intimidated defenseless black and white Unionist voters. Blacks who dared to defend themselves were murdered wholesale. Lawlessness, not Reconstruction, became the order of the day.

In Arkansas, one freedman reported in a letter to Pennsylvania Rep. Thaddeus Stevens that "the Rebbels" had "Burned Down a fine African Church which Cost the Freed Man about $5000" and left "24 Negro Men Women and Children" hanging from trees around their cabins. In New Orleans, 34 blacks and three white allies where shot down under white flags. In Texas, at least 62 freedmen were murdered in December 1867 and January 1868. In the run-up to the 1868 presidential election, across the South, as many as 1,300 black voters may have been murdered.

Johnson was impeached in 1867 and came within a hair's-breadth of being removed from office, a cliffhanger ably described by Mr. Egerton. (A more exhaustive treatment can be found in David O. Stewart's "Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy," published in 2010.) Ulysses Grant of course won the 1868 election, and for a few years federal troops attempted to protect Republican voters in the South. But the violence didn't end. Vigilante outfits—the Ku Klux Klan was just one of many—had learned that they could get away with murder and continued to do their bloody work.

Mr. Egerton vividly chronicles local terrorist campaigns across the South. While not usually coordinated from state to state, they followed similar patterns of ruthless vigilante warfare. Rarely did gangs of white "redeemers," as they liked to call themselves, bother to conceal their identity. In 1873, more than 100 black Republicans were massacred in Colfax, La., almost all of them unarmed, after they had surrendered to a force of white vigilantes. Similar slaughters took place across the former Confederate states; only the numbers of the dead varied. One white participant in the Colfax massacre, quoted by Nicholas Lemann in "Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War" (2006), which deals at length with this atrocity, blithely reported: "Luke lined [five men] up and his old gun went off, and he killed all five of them with two shots. Then it was like popcorn in a skillet."

As the years passed, Southern revisionists turned such massacres into glorious "victories" against "armies" of savage blacks that had never existed. Today, in Edgefield, S.C., there is a shrine to the "Red Shirt" movement whose bloody "redemption" of South Carolina from biracial democracy is dramatically rendered in Stephen Budiansky's "The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox" (2008). Red Shirt leader "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, who boasted of his role in a notorious massacre in Hamburg, S.C., in which several disarmed black militiamen were murdered, was later elected to the U.S. Senate and became a role model for the young Strom Thurmond.

Paradoxically, Andrew Johnson's incompetence helped to empower congressional radicals who, in 1868 and 1870, pushed through passage of the 14th and 15th amendments guaranteeing black citizenship and the right to vote. But Northern attention, never wholly committed to the cause of black rights, soon drifted elsewhere. Federal troops were needed on the western frontier, and the enforcement of civil rights flagged.

The close presidential election of 1876 was pivotal. With key votes in dispute, neither Samuel Tilden nor Rutherford Hayes had a clear majority in the Electoral College. White-dominated former Confederate states, in a notorious compromise, agreed to yield their votes to allow the election of Hayes, a Republican, in return for guarantees that federal troops be withdrawn from the South. Thereafter the Democrat-controlled House agreed to approve military appropriations only if federal troops were never used again in the Southern states. One might say that the violence that had crushed Reconstruction's highest aspirations now reaped its reward: Northern abdication and Jim Crow.

"The Wars of Reconstruction" won't entirely replace Eric Foner's magisterial and equally wide-angled "Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877" (1988), which devotes more attention than Mr. Egerton's book to economic and labor matters and to the development of capitalism during the period. Mr. Egerton's prose, however, is more readable and compelling than Mr. Foner's. He moves his narrative forward with a fine eye for the drama of events, offering a chorus of contemporary voices along the way: those of ex-slaves, war veterans, do-gooders, opportunists, educators, churchmen and politicians of every stripe, among them defenders of racial privilege. He includes as well ex-Confederates such as the politically courageous James Longstreet, Robert E. Lee's senior corps commander, who after the war became a Republican and embraced biracial reform, and Northern black crusaders such as Octavius Catto of Philadelphia, who helped make the assertion of civil rights a national cause. Collectively these figures, speaking to us amid Mr. Egerton's always acute presentation of the intricacies of federal and state politics, bring to life the war that was taking place not just in the halls of government but also deep in the small towns, red-dirt hamlets and cotton fields, where the bloodiest combat of Reconstruction took place.

The author remedies a particularly glaring deficit in our memory. He shows that black officeholders in the early Reconstruction era—demeaned by many pro-Southern historians and portrayed as lascivious buffoons by fictionalizers such as Thomas Dixon Jr., whose novels became the basis for "Birth of a Nation"—were substantial citizens well-prepared to govern. They had often risen from a middle class of ministers and businessmen that existed in antebellum America beyond the view of racist whites. By the turn of the 20th century, however, once-effective biracial coalitions across the South had been destroyed and black voters almost completely disenfranchised through physical intimidation and electoral trickery. White supremacists took control in all the former Confederate states.

Anyone who lived or worked in the Jim Crow South could see the price that African-Americans paid for the crippling of Reconstruction. In the mid-1960s, I spent a couple of seasons registering black voters in a remote rural county in Virginia. It was always difficult to persuade would-be voters to appear before hostile white registrars, even more so after the Ku Klux Klan held a rally festooned with Confederate flags on the steps of the courthouse where the blacks were required to register. On one occasion, I saw an entire black family flee out the back door of their cabin when I, an unfamiliar white man, approached.

Mr. Egerton makes abundantly clear why, a century after the Civil War, blacks in the South could still feel so vulnerable that they would flee at the sight of a white stranger. He reminds us, through the irresistible force of accumulated facts, that postwar history might have been very different and that we would today be a better nation for it. As he writes: "Members of a nation who rightly regard themselves as residents of a more just and democratic society than many others on the planet are collectively loath to admit that good and honorable policies were consciously overturned by a reactionary minority while thousands of people across the nation found it easier to look the other way."

—Mr. Bordewich's most recent book is "America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union."
Title: Frederick Douglas
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 01, 2014, 03:07:49 PM
Over 40 minutes, I have not watched this yet, but it comes recommended
Title: Gen Charles Lee, Renegade Revolutionary
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 04, 2014, 03:32:02 PM
Book Review: 'Renegade Revolutionary' by Phillip Papas & 'Charles Lee' by Dominick Mazzagetti
Temperamental, conceited and sometimes downright odd, Charles Lee bridled under the command of General Washington.
by Stephen Brumwell
July 3, 2014 8:31 p.m. ET

Charles Lee has long been cast as one of the bit players in the drama of American independence. The Revolutionary Army general is remembered, if at all, for being dressed down by George Washington at the Battle of Monmouth.

Lee is, remarkably, the subject of two new biographies. If that were not enough, he has also appeared on the small screen in "Turn," the popular AMC drama loosely based upon the activities of the Culper Spy Ring, which fed intelligence about British military operations to Washington. In "Turn," Lee is depicted as having a fondness for debauchery and a readiness to collaborate with the enemy to gratify his own ambitions. Both Phillip Papas, in "Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of General Charles Lee, " and Dominick Mazzagetti, in "Charles Lee: Self Before Country," demonstrate that this picture is not far from the truth.

Charles Lee was born into a respectable gentry family in Cheshire, England, in 1731. The son of a British army colonel, Lee was commissioned into his father's regiment at 14. He fought in the French and Indian War, serving alongside George Washington in Gen. Edward Braddock's doomed campaign to capture Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio in 1755. Posted to Albany, Lee befriended the local Mohawk Indians, acquiring the suggestive tribal name "Boiling Water" and a native bride who bore him twins. In 1758, he was seriously wounded attacking French fortifications at Ticonderoga (America's bloodiest day of combat before Antietam in 1862).
Renegade Revolutionary

By Phillip Papas
NYU, 403 pages, $39
Charles Lee

By Dominick Mazzagetti
Rutgers, 271 pages, $32.95

'Washington's Rebuke of Lee' (ca. 1921), by Clyde Osmer DeLand. Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent,/Courtesy of Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection,/Bridgeman Images

With the American war winding down, Lee sought glory in Portugal, where, in 1762, Britain sent troops to help her Iberian ally rebuff a Spanish invasion. Under the command of "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne, another soldier destined to play a key role in the Revolutionary War, Lee led a dashingly successful night-time raid on a Spanish force. Such exploits did not bring the recognition Lee sought. In an era when patronage was paramount for promotion, the outspoken soldier had an unfortunate knack of alienating influential men, including the young King George III. Granted a royal audience, Lee interrupted his monarch's attempts to apologize for his stalled army career, stating: "Sir, I will never give your Majesty an opportunity of breaking your promise to me again."

Lee found consolation in a libertine lifestyle, mingling with a hard-drinking literary crowd fond of licentiousness, bizarre antics and radical politics. He was prone to extreme mood swings, alternating wild binges with long bouts of lethargy and depression, and Mr. Papas speculates that he might have been suffering from bipolar disorder.

In the 1760s, Lee, a gifted linguist, rambled across Europe, visiting its fashionable courts and wilder frontiers. He met Frederick the Great of Prussia and became a close acquaintance of Stanislas, King of Poland. Lee was awarded the honorary rank of major general in the Polish army and observed the Russians campaigning against the Ottoman Turks and Polish rebels, witnessing how small bands of irregular fighters could seriously disrupt and impede unwieldy regular forces. Combined with what he had already seen of frontier warfare in America, this experience did much to convince him of the superiority of guerrilla tactics over conventional ones.

During the escalating crisis between Britain and her American colonies, Lee's radical politics made him a vocal advocate for the patriots. He settled in Virginia and, as hostilities loomed, played an undeniably important role in inspiring resistance. He published a widely read pamphlet in 1774 that maintained that British army regulars could be beaten by a well-armed and motivated militia.

Many of Lee's American contemporaries were awed by his intellect and knowledge of the wider world. Yet his scrawny physique, unkempt appearance and devotion to his dogs raised eyebrows. Even in today's pet-centric society, a dog owner who insisted on seating his trusty hound at the dinner table, where it would proffer a paw to guests (a scenario recounted in a letter by an astonished Abigail Adams), might be considered odd. In Lee's era, such behavior suggested that he was barking mad.

Lee was the most experienced soldier available to the Continental Congress in 1775. As an Englishman, however, he was not eligible for the top command, which went to Washington. But Lee was far from content to play second fiddle to the reserved Virginian, who was in every sense his temperamental opposite.

Events in 1776 did nothing to diminish Lee's regard for his own abilities. Sent south by Congress that spring, he won acclaim for repulsing a bungled British assault upon Charleston, S.C. By contrast, Washington's reputation faltered as powerful forces tumbled him out of Manhattan. As Washington retreated across New Jersey, Lee repeatedly ignored Washington's pleas to reinforce him, convinced that he knew best how to win the war by using his troops for raiding parties to wear the enemy down. But Lee squandered his chance: On Dec. 13, while lodging in an isolated tavern at Basking Ridge, N.J., he was captured by British cavalry. Tellingly, just minutes before, he had been penning a letter criticizing Washington's abilities as a general. With characteristic pungency, he had written his friend Gen. Horatio Gates about how "a certain great man is most damnably deficient."

For the British, the capture of the popular general was a coup, and many patriots were correspondingly despondent. But Lee's removal from the field of battle was, in a way, fortuitous. On Dec. 22, 1776, Thomas Rodney, another officer in the Continental Army, noted in his diary that "too much confidence had been put in Lee," a circumstance that must have "greatly embarrassed" Washington. With Lee gone, the commander in chief "would be at liberty to exert his own talents." Rodney's analysis was astute: Within a fortnight, Washington had won his great victories at Trenton and Princeton.

Once it became clear that Lee would not be executed as a traitor to his king, he settled into a comfortable captivity and was soon corresponding with British officers. He even drafted a proposal suggesting that the rebellion could be crushed within months by deploying British warships to support an influx of crown troops from Maryland to Rhode Island, thereby encouraging an upsurge of loyalism. Mr. Papas, a professor of history at Union County College in New Jersey, is unconvinced that this document proves outright betrayal, largely because there is nothing to suggest that British Gen. William Howe took it seriously. By contrast, Mr. Mazzagetti, a lawyer and amateur historian, is less forgiving, seeing the proposal as hard evidence that Lee really was willing to betray the revolutionary cause in 1777.

In the event, "Mr. Lee's Plan" remained undiscovered until the 1860s, and, when he was exchanged in 1778, he rejoined the Continental Army with his reputation intact and his confidence in guerrilla warfare unshaken. But during his captivity much had changed. Thanks to the rigorous training regime of the former Prussian officer Baron Steuben, Washington's troops had emerged from the Valley Forge encampment confident enough to face the redcoats in a conventional, stand-up fight. Their chance came in June 1778, when the British evacuated Philadelphia and withdrew to New York across a blisteringly hot New Jersey. Lee chivvied the rear of the enemy column, but when the British turned to fight near Monmouth he was soon in trouble. Irate to find Lee's troops retreating without orders, Washington gave him the rough side of his tongue before stabilizing the situation.

The battle ended in a draw, and Lee's performance would likely have been considered unworthy of further rebuke were it not for his own intemperate personality. "Boiling Water" seethed with such resentment against Washington that he fired off a trio of increasingly insolent letters, voicing his discontent and demanding a court-martial. Washington was happy to oblige. In what amounted to a showdown between the commander in chief and his rival, the military court found Lee guilty of misconduct and disrespect and suspended him for a year.

Lee harnessed the press to defend himself and denounce his enemies, a misguided policy that cost him any lingering support—and resulted in a duel with one of Washington's aides, John Laurens (who wounded Lee). He never rejoined the Army and died in 1782 in Philadelphia, his passing barely noticed amid expectations of ultimate victory over Britain.

Mr. Papas argues that Lee's contributions to the winning of American independence, both as a propagandist and as a soldier, deserve recognition. To Mr. Mazzagetti, by contrast, any such merits are outweighed by the self-obsession that prompted Lee to cynically betray a cause he had once championed. Despite their differing verdicts, these are both soundly researched and readable books that can be equally recommended.

Much about Charles Lee's personality remains a mystery, but his latest biographers concur in emphasizing his vastly inflated ego. Given his craving for attention, Lee would surely be delighted to know that he is not yet forgotten.

—Mr. Brumwell's "George Washington: Gentleman Warrior" won the 2013 George Washington Book Prize.
Title: D.C.’s darkest day
Post by: bigdog on August 25, 2014, 02:26:10 PM

From the article:

Madison arrived at Bladensburg and went a little too far, nearly riding into the British lines before reversing course and finding a spot to watch the suddenly erupting battle.

Busybody Secretary of State James Monroe, hardly in the chain of command, took it upon himself to rearrange the second line of the American defense, moving the soldiers too far back to be of much help.

Leading the British invasion were Gen. Robert Ross and Adm. George Cockburn. The British officers detected the cockeyed American defensive positioning and decided to press ahead with light infantry even before their stragglers, who had been marching for seven hours in brutal heat, had caught up.

Title: Dred Scott revisited
Post by: ccp on August 31, 2014, 09:50:38 AM
Dred Scott.   The man himself seems elusive.   He was clearly illiterate.    Married twice and at around 41 married a second time to a 19 year old.   Has descendants.   Died only 16 months after finally being granted freedom and an eleven year battle in the Courts.   He is quoted as saying he wouldn't have brought the case forward if he had known how long it would take.   He was reportedly considering touring his story around for profit but his wife said the could make a living "on their own".   Only one photo of him on record and we are lucky to even have that one.  His only know "signature" or anything that survives from "his own hand" is an "X" he signed on the dotted line.   His case was really an open and shut case.   The laws in those days apparently allowed for a slave to be freed if he lived for a time in free state territories.   Yet he lost initially because evidence was suppressed by the judge.   And of course the Roger Taney Supreme Court decision (7 of 9 judges affirmed the decision) that ruled he was not a citizen and not entitled to freedom.  

This seems like a pretty realistic investigation into the man as well as the story and tries to impart reality from myth and legend and early biased white accounts and later black rewriting of history accounts:
Title: Did Stalin kill Patton?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 24, 2014, 01:52:28 PM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on September 25, 2014, 07:42:33 AM
Fascinating theory.

I would like to read this book.

Title: Morris: AG Corruption (Holder and others)
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 05, 2014, 07:39:21 AM
Title: Gen. Patton on Jews and Russian Commies
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 10, 2014, 04:06:09 PM

Our GM warns against relying on this site-- which is unfamiliar to me.  Please flesh that out GM.
Title: Re: Gen. Patton on Jews and Russian Commies
Post by: G M on November 10, 2014, 07:18:29 PM

Our GM warns against relying on this site-- which is unfamiliar to me.  Please flesh that out GM.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 10, 2014, 09:25:16 PM
 :-o :-o :-o

And here I was thinking that the site was trying to make Patton look bad!
Title: Morris: How Lincoln kept the border states in the Union.
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 01, 2015, 09:38:16 AM
Title: Paul Revere's Time Capsule
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 07, 2015, 12:19:17 PM
Title: Ed Rothstein: Lincoln
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 25, 2015, 05:15:08 AM
Lincoln’s Lexicon
‘Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation’ at the the Morgan Library and Museum traces the president’s development of a personal, public language.
By Edward Rothstein
Jan. 21, 2015 6:21 p.m. ET
WSJ New York

Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation
The Morgan Library and Museum
From Jan. 23 through June 7

On a ragged fragment of faded juvenilia from 1826 or so—a scrap page marked with scrawled sums, ink blots and handwriting exercises—you can make out a familiar name. Nearly four decades later, it reappears as a signature at the bottom of an 1864 printing of the Emancipation Proclamation. And both can be seen, to different effect, at a fascinating exhibition opening Friday at the Morgan Library and Museum.

The earlier example is in a rhyming doodle proclaiming a teenager’s aspiration: “Abraham Lincoln / his hand and pen / he will be good but / god knows when.” The latter is, perhaps, the doggerel’s fulfillment. And as we make our way through this exhibition, we see it happen; we see when Abraham Lincoln becomes good, even great; in some ways, too, we see how.

The exhibition’s title is “Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation.” And so they did. The curators—Declan Kiely of the Morgan and Sandra M. Trenholm of the Gilder Lehrman Collection—offer pointed, pungent examples in Lincoln’s hand, including fragments of robust early speeches, notes with clipped military commands and letters with diplomatic cajoling, punctuated by images of Lincoln and Civil War carnage. The documents are gathered from the Morgan, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, the Library of Congress and elsewhere, many shown publicly for the first time, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s end and of Lincoln’s death.

Hovering above them all are Lincoln’s most extraordinary expressions of public mission in the Gettysburg Address and the second inaugural; they get less attention here than they might, but the trajectory is the focus, not the view from the peaks.

Along the way we encounter subtle examples too, including a compassionate letter in which, as president, Lincoln consoles a young woman who just lost her father—his friend—in the Civil War: “In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it.” Lincoln adds that time will offer relief: “I have had experience enough to know what I say.” He had recently lost his 11-year-old son, Willie.

Examples of aftershocks and influence are here too, including a letter John Stuart Mill wrote just after the assassination, expressing “profound veneration” for Lincoln: “He taught the United States & the world that a love of truth & a high morality are the main qualities of real statesmanship.” An 18-minute film features contemporary reflections by President Clinton, the playwright Tony Kushner and other commentators.

Today, at a time when political rhetoric tends toward pedestrian formula or polemical posturing, it is bracing to see Lincoln develop a personal language that shaped a war’s rationale, that helped explain while it helped inspire. There is no comparable example I can think of until Winston Churchill rallied Britain in 1940 and 1941, when that “great island nation” stood nearly isolated against Nazi attacks. Without their resolute declarations, the past 150 years would look very different.

We are reminded from the very start that Lincoln, self-taught and with few resources, took words seriously. He memorized the worn copy we see of Samuel Kirkham’s English Grammar in Familiar Lectures (1828). The imperious phrasings of the King James Bible left their mark. And Lincoln could recite long passages of Shakespeare from memory. A volume of his “Macbeth” is displayed, as is his copy of another touchstone: Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man.” Lincoln cherished Edgar Allan Poe and found fellow feeling with that writer’s melancholia; here is one of young Lincoln’s verses: “I range the fields with pensive tread / And pace the hollow rooms / And feel (companion of the dead) / I’m living in the tombs.”

Lincoln was justly modest about his poetic efforts. But rhythm, repetition, wit and somber expectations are recurring strands in his reading and speaking. The exhibition notes: He “chose words with a lawyer’s precision and poet’s sense of rhythm.” His speech also had, Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “the relish and smack of the soil.” And a colleague recalled that when roused, Lincoln “would come out with an earnestness of conviction, a power of argument, a wealth of illustration, that I have never seen surpassed.”

We see examples in Lincoln’s speeches prepared for the 1858 debates with Stephen Douglas, written in a clear large hand for easy consultation while speaking. Arguing over slavery, Lincoln, an admirer of Aesop’s fables, invokes the ant who will “defend the fruit of his labor” against any assault. How much more, by having all fruits taken away, must the slave “constantly know that he is wronged.” And despite many attempts to justify slavery as “a very good thing,” Lincoln writes, “we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself.”

There is the “smack of the soil” in this argument: a hard practicality. Lincoln, though cherishing ideals, was no idealist; he was a pragmatist and, in that respect, a politician. Bronze casts of his hands were made by Leonard Wells Volk in 1860, just after Lincoln was nominated as presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We see the lineaments and veins of his left hand, but not within the fuller flesh of the right: It was swollen from his having shaken so many others.

Lincoln’s pragmatism and his focus on the Union left him open to charges that he was not serious about dismantling slavery. Yet the evidence suggests caution, not skepticism. As president, he also issued an order that any time the South kills or enslaves a black Union soldier taken prisoner, a Southern prisoner would get similar treatment.

The exhibition implies consistency over decades, but the issue is more complex. The first inaugural address, delivered in March 1861, after the Confederate States of America had been declared, still repudiated attempts to eliminate slavery where already practiced. Even the Emancipation Proclamation was deliberately limited, freeing slaves only in rebellious states. Lincoln didn’t want to alienate border states, but he also believed this was all he had authority to do. The Proclamation rested on his powers as commander in chief (not president) acting “in time of actual armed rebellion.” It declared itself simply a “fit and necessary war measure.” That is why there is no persuasion in it. The language is dry, unmemorable.

The Gettysburg Address is the opposite. It is compressed, allusive, abstract. It doesn’t specify a particular place or fact or law. It is an explanation of principle. And here Lincoln’s rhetorical powers get full play. At a time when the numbers of war dead were overwhelming, when pressures were mounting for compromise, it detaches the war’s purpose from its bloody battlefields. Lincoln combined his advocacy of the Union with his opposition to slavery: They were aspects of the same issue. At stake was whether any nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the idea of equality could long endure. Lincoln resolutely insisted there was a “great task remaining before us” along with much “unfinished work” before there could be a “new birth of freedom.”

And so he mapped out the century that followed.

Mr. Rothstein is the Journal’s Critic at Large
Title: The "rebel yell"
Post by: ccp on January 25, 2015, 05:38:48 PM
Geezer version:;_ylt=A0LEV2CbmMVU9gkAC8VXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA3lmcC10LTkwMQRncHJpZANUSTlRSHZIOVFtVzEzemR1Ll9wcmRBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwM1BG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMxBHBxc3RyA29sZGVzdCBjaXZpbCB3YXIgdmV0ZXJhbiAEcHFzdHJsAzI1BHFzdHJsAzI5BHF1ZXJ5A29sZGVzdCBjaXZpbCB3YXIgdmV0ZXJhbiBkaWVzBHRfc3RtcAMxNDIyMjM1OTgw?p=oldest+civil+war+veteran+dies&fr2=sa-gp-search&fr=yfp-t-901&fp=1
Title: General and President Grant and the Jews
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 17, 2015, 09:05:21 AM
Title: How did Lincoln become a lawyer?
Post by: ccp on March 10, 2015, 12:18:41 AM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on March 12, 2015, 04:40:02 PM
I never saw this picture before.  Is this real or contrived?
Title: John Adams presidency
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 19, 2015, 07:07:46 PM
On this day in 1828, John Quincy Adams signs legislation that would come to be known as the Tariff of Abominations. The law was one of the early dominoes that fell and eventually pushed our nation toward Civil War.

The legislation came at the end of Adams’s single term in office. He’d been elected in somewhat unusual circumstances. The Electoral College vote did not produce a majority winner; thus, the election was pushed into a secondary procedure known as the House contingent election. Adams was selected by congressmen! His opponent, Andrew Jackson, was livid.

Adams did not make life any easier for himself during his presidency. He wasn’t good at playing political games. Instead, he hoped that his “upright and pure” intentions and a “heart devoted to the welfare of our country” would carry him through the presidency.

That didn’t work out so well for him!

During his administration, Adams advocated for internal improvements such as roads, canals, a national university, and a national naval academy. He thought these improvements would spur the national economy. Of course, he needed funding, too, and it was expected that he would get the money from tariffs. Tariffs had long been a tricky business, though. Tariffs on most goods had started out at only 5 percent in 1789, but rates had been raised a few times since then. Would tariffs now be raised again?

Then, as now, some people argued that raising tariffs would be good for the country and good for the economy. Others disagreed! Southerners tended to be especially prickly about raising tariffs.

Things got worse for Adams in 1826. His father passed away. He lost control of Congress. He could not obtain sufficient appropriations for his proposed improvements. Jacksonians were gearing up for a new presidential election battle in 1828. All of these factors added up to a President that did not have enough influence in Congress to appropriately moderate a tariff bill that was making its way through the legislative process. In the meantime, one Jackson supporter, Senator Martin Van Buren, had more influence and managed to usher a protectionist bill through the Senate. Thus, the tariff that was eventually approved by Congress protected northern and western products from foreign competition, even as it raised the cost of doing business in the South.

You can see why Southerners were upset!

Adams had reservations, but he signed the bill on May 19. His decision put the nail in the coffin of his 1828 reelection campaign. The South hated the Tariff, calling it the “Tariff of Abominations.” At a public meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, protestors objected vehemently, declaring that the tariff was designed to benefit “one description of citizens at the expense of every other class” and to “enrich some States to the injury of others.” One southern legislator called the bill “a species of oppression little less than legalized pillage.”

Interestingly, even back then, events could get spun in such a way as to not exactly reflect reality. Jackson’s supporters had helped to push the hated tariff through Congress, yet somehow Southerners became convinced that Jackson would reform the tariffs if he were elected to office. They were also fearful of Adams’s internal improvement plans, thinking that Adams meant to nationalize functions that should remain local. They ended up throwing their support behind Jackson.

Jackson was elected in 1828, but he never did reform the tariff, of course. His failure to do so would later lead to the so-called Nullification Crisis. But that is a story for another day! wink emoticon

If you enjoyed this post, please don't forget to “like” and SHARE. Our schools and media don’t always teach the stories of our founding! Let’s do it ourselves.

Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2015 by Tara Ross. I appreciate it when you use the FB “share” feature instead of cutting/pasting.

Title: Our Flag
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 10, 2015, 12:21:31 PM
Flag Day — What Do You See?
The Banner of Liberty
By Mark Alexander • June 10, 2015     
"Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." —Second Continental Congress (June 14, 1777)

What do you think of when you see an American flag? Consider, for a moment, its origin, and let me tell you the images it evokes for me.
Perhaps the most iconic flag associated with the heritage of American Liberty is that attributed in 1876, the centennial of the Declaration of Independence signing, to the hand of Betsy Ross. It featured 13 stars arranged in a circle within a blue union field, and with 13 red and white stripes. That flag, however, was most likely produced late into the Revolutionary War, and not by Betsy Ross.
Some of the earliest examples of Revolutionary-era flags are those depicted by painter John Trumbull. He was an officer at the Battle of Bunker Hill, was appointed in 1776 as Second Personal Aide to General George Washington, and later Deputy Adjutant-General to General Horatio Gates. He is most noted for his 1792 portrait of Washington before the Battle of Trenton and his 1817 "Declaration of Independence," a painting of the Signers depicted at the convention.
The flags in Trumbull's 18th-century paintings of the Battle of Princeton (1777), the Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga (1777) and the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown (1781) all depict 12 stars within the blue field, 12 arranged in a square with the 13th in the center.
But the earliest flag widely associated with the Revolution was the 1775 Gadsden, with its yellow field depicting a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and the words "DONT TREAD ON ME" beneath the serpent. Of course, that's also the flag that today embodies the Second Tea Party Revolt, which, in 2010, launched a great awakening of pride in our American heritage and a revitalized devotion to American Liberty. This flag has its origin with Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden, and it flew over the earliest actions by the Continental Navy and Marines — and inspired the Navy Jack still flown in the fleet today.

Gadsden's flag was likely inspired by a plate published by Benjamin Franklin in 1754 featuring an image of a snake cut into sections representing the Colonies, over the words "JOIN, or DIE," an appeal for unity during the French and Indian War.
The Second Continental Congress passed its flag resolution on June 14, 1777, the same date it authorized the first riflemen for the Continental Army. It also appointed George Washington to lead that Army the next day. The flag most likely referenced in that resolution was that designed by Declaration signer Francis Hopkinson, featuring six-pointed stars arranged in rows. It flew first over the battle of Fort Schuyler on August 3, 1777.
Until victory in 1783, under that flag and similar banners, the first American Patriots would defend the young nation against what seemed to be insurmountable odds.
It was during a second conflict with the British, the War of 1812, that our national flag, flying over Fort McHenry above Baltimore harbor, inspired Francis Scott Key to pen what is now our National Anthem.
In 1814, James Madison authorized Key and John Stuart Skinner to seek an agreement with the British to secure an exchange of prisoners. Under a flag of truce, Key and Skinner met with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane aboard the HMS Tonnant. However, while onboard, Key and Skinner learned of British plans to attack Baltimore and thus were held captive.
From his vantage point onboard, Key was able to observe at the end of the first day of that campaign that Fort McHenry’s “storm flag” was still flying into the night. He didn’t know if his fellow Patriots had withstood the assault until, by the dawn’s early light, he saw that a much larger American flag (made of fine English wool) had been raised victoriously over the fort.

On that day, Key, an amateur poet, penned “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” later put to music as “The Star-Spangled Banner” and formally recognized in 1931 as our National Anthem.
While the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is familiar to most Americans, it is the fourth and final verse that speaks most directly to the humbling legacy of American Patriots, who have stood in harm’s way since the earliest skirmishes of the American Revolution:
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
“In God is our trust” was shortened to “In God We Trust” and first appeared on U.S. coins in 1964. In 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law as our National Motto. Seven years earlier, President Harry Truman signed the National Flag Day law.
Today, patriotic Americans recognize "In God We Trust" as the keystone of our Liberty and the Unalienable Rights of Man as endowed by our Creator.
So, what awakens in me today when I see an American flag?
I recall the hundreds of thousands of flags at headstones in Arlington National Cemetery and others around the nation — and at numerous memorial sites in Europe at the final resting places of American liberators of WWI and WWII. I think of flags at half mast to honor a Patriot; the raising of our flag over bloody Iwo Jima by U.S. Marines in 1945; of American flags held atop Mt. Everest and planted beneath the Pacific Ocean in the Marianas Trench; of the flag placed in 1969 on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin; of the flags over the White House and the U.S. Capitol during Ronald Reagan's presidency and other U.S.-loving commanders in chief; of the flag raised above Ground Zero by New York firefighters on 9/11; and I think of the flags on the shoulders of our young warriors in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But I also think of how Col. Leo K. Thorsness (USAF Ret.), a POW in Vietnam (1967-73) and recipient of the Medal of Honor, answered that question:
"Let me tell you what I think when I see our flag. As a fighter pilot on my 93rd mission over North Vietnam, my F-105 was hit by an air-to-air missile and my Electronic Warfare Officer Harold Johnson and I were forced to eject. After unsuccessful rescue attempts, we were captured by enemy forces and imprisoned in the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ for the next six years.
"One day in our sixth year of imprisonment, a young Navy pilot named Mike Campbell found a piece of cloth in a gutter. After we collected some other small rags, he worked secretly at night to piece them together into a flag. He made red from ground-up roof tiles and blue from tiny amounts of ink, then used rice glue to paste the colors onto the rags. Using thread from his blanket and a homemade bamboo needle, he sewed the pieces together, adding white fragments for stars.
"One morning he whispered from the back of our cell, ‘Hey gang, look here,’ and proudly held up that tattered American flag, waving it as if in a breeze. We all snapped to attention and saluted — with tears in our eyes.
"A week later, the guards were searching our cells and found Mike’s flag. That night they pulled him out of the cell and, for his simple gesture of patriotism, they tortured him. At daylight they pushed what was left of Mike back through the cell door.
"Today, whenever I see our flag, I think of Mike and the morning he first waved that tattered emblem of our great nation. It was then, thousands of miles from home, imprisoned by a brutal enemy, that he courageously demonstrated the liberty it represents, and that is what I see in every American flag today.”
(Recently, our Essential Liberty Project sponsored a children's book, "I'm Your Flag," and Col. Thorsness noted, "It is a fitting tribute to our national banner, and a great resource for young Americans.")
Regrettably, I also think of those American flags desecrated by enemies foreign and domestic. I have mixed opinions about a Flag Desecration Amendment as proposed after the Supreme Court struck down the Flag Protection Act passed by Congress in 1968 and, by extension, all such proscriptions enacted by the states.
The Patriot Post is clearly afforded legal protection under the First Amendment's assurance that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." But only activist judges in the "despotic branch," as Thomas Jefferson warned, would twist those words in such a contorted manner as to suggest that flag desecration is "protected speech." Thus, any proposed Amendment would fall to similar "interpretation."
The only solution to the reckless disregard for our Constitution, and the countless ways the contempt for its plain language has undermined Liberty, is the restoration of Constitutional Rule of Law. But I digress...
Notably, I have no mixed opinions about those who desecrate our flag, and my disdain for those who undertake such defilement is equal to the blood that has been spilled to sustain the Liberty it represents.
The tragic irony, of course, is that such desecration, as errantly interpreted by the Supreme Court, is guaranteed by generations of Patriots who have honored their solemn oaths "to Support and Defend" our Constitution, and have sacrificed all on our behalf.
June 14 is Flag Day. If you are not yet proudly displaying our flag at your home, place of business, on your car, etc., I ask that you join me in honoring our heritage of Liberty by displaying its most appropriate symbol.
(Note: Flag Day is also my annual reminder to replace worn flags with new flags. And, I invite you to consider this patriotic defense of our nation's flag in one of the best Major League plays of all time!)
Title: Nixon's interference with negotiations and Reagan so accused
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 30, 2015, 08:23:45 AM
George Will confirms Nixon's Vietnam treason

Did Reagan do the same thing?
Title: Re: Nixon's interference with negotiations and Reagan so accused
Post by: DougMacG on July 01, 2015, 07:17:00 AM
Did Reagan do the same thing?

Maybe we can keep an empty thread here to track of every time one of Crafty's liberal friends with "progressive" sourcing gets something right...   :wink:

Iran held the American Hostages for 444 days.  The reason alleged that they didn't release them in exactly October 1980, just before the election, was that the "Reagan administration" (during the Carter administration) had secret ties with the Ayatollah.  The source of that is Amadinejad's predecessor Bani-Sadr, who claims way after the fact that he believes that but does not claim to have any personal knowledge of that, or source or evidence.  Just his word.  He also claims Carter would have otherwise won (Nothing else wrong with the Carter Presidency?) and that without Reagan we wouldn't have any problems with Iran today. (Huh?)   If the absurd claim was true, why would they hold them then past the election through November and December and early January?  That makes no sense.  More plausibly they were told the opposite of hold them longer.  If they were told anything at the instruction of Reagan it would be they were told of the dire consequence of holding them for more than one minute after his inauguration as Commander in Chief.  If he didn't tell them that, then they figured it out on their own.  If the Iranian government had no control over the "students", then how could they negotiate and get it done in January, as alleged.  It makes no sense.

We know now in the Obama post-Cairo speech years that terrorists (and most foreigners) make no meaningful distinction between different American Presidents.  And if they did, why would they prefer Reagan?

Regarding the left's slam on Nixon, have at him.  Nixon ran as a conservative and governed as a liberal.  I consider him one of theirs.  Founded the EPA, price wage freezes with governmental oversight.  Uses the IRS like Obama, with the moral integrity of Hillary.

For credibility sake, has Bani Sadr ever written to correct Amadinejad on holocaust denial?  Or only to smear Reagan?  FYI: My Dad and his unit were the first medical responders at the liberation of death camp Buchenwald.  I have it first hand - it happened.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 01, 2015, 09:31:16 AM
Good comments.  I wouldn't have had those answers when confronted by this accusation but for my having posted that piece here, thus eliciting your response.
Title: A different interpretation of the Civil War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 10, 2015, 09:43:39 PM
Title: What the Founding Fathers wrote about Islam
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 11, 2015, 10:22:39 AM
Title: Did you know? Black heroes of our Revolution, Civil War, etc
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 07, 2015, 08:40:23 AM
Title: photos and stories of Revolutionary War vets
Post by: ccp on February 13, 2016, 02:11:03 PM
Title: Lincoln photo circa 1841?
Post by: ccp on February 15, 2016, 01:18:47 PM
Title: Morris: How America a coup d'etat
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 19, 2016, 12:58:38 PM
Title: The Man J. Edgar Hoover blamed , , ,
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 19, 2016, 01:05:55 PM
second post

Hat tip to BBG who posted this in the Privacy thread.  I paste it here as well:
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on March 21, 2016, 06:09:44 AM
From Wikipedia

Anne Oakley shooting glass balls thrown into the air:,_1894.ogg
Title: How Ayatollah K. snookered President Carter
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 06, 2016, 07:18:03 AM

Title: Lincoln arrests Maryland legislature
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 13, 2016, 10:25:22 PM
Title: Nepotism/American Political Dynasties
Post by: DDF on November 11, 2016, 01:33:06 PM
Reposted here from Corruption, Skullduggery and Treason at the behest of GC

Nepotism in American politics.

Families that have last names starting with the letter "A," represent 89 families with 275 people having served in politics, for almost 3 centuries.

When one removes the state distinction and inter-marital relationships, and differences in spelling that have occurred over the years, the number of families drops to 50, and dates back to 1717 AD on the American continent.

Surnames starting with the letter "B," account for 201 distinct surnames, with their members of there families, offering up 801 public servants, not counting the Breckenridge, Butler-Belmont, or Bush families, which are so large, that they have their own listings, dating back to 1686.

In the case of the Breckenridges, accounting for another 59 politicians throughout the centuries
the Butler-Belmont family dating back to 1759, with 17 members of their family serving throughout the years (not including the other Belmont family members already accounted for)

Bush family, which actually includes two family lines, Bush, and Bush-Davis-Walker, dating back to 1676, with 56 members of their family serving public office and as president twice.

The total number of people from the 201 families with surnames starting with "B" that have been politicians is at least 933 politicians.

Surnames with the letter "C," are represented 218 times or less.

Focusing on the Clintons, of whom, both Bill and Hillary have lineage tracing back to the original 13 colonies, and just between Bill, Hillary and Hillary's brother, have included one president, FOUR presidential candidacies, secretary of state, senator, attorney general, and failed senate and congressional candidacies as well.

If we include marital relationships of Bill, Hillary's brother, and Chelsea, it will include ties to Senator Barbara Boxer, Congressmen James A. Lockhart and US Representatives Edward Mezvinsky and Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.

Since the number of surnames in the United States is accumulative, accounting for everyone that has ever come to the country, and numbering at least 150,000 - 1,350,000 means that a fraction of the families in the US are ever included, and that those who are, overly so.

Leaving the Wikipedia list for a moment, others too, have made the same observation as noted here:

"My infatuation with political dynasties began in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1957, when, as a bored private in a peacetime army, I wandered into a library and discovered the "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress." Who were these Bayards, Muhlenbergs and Frelinghuysens, I wondered, with five or six names apiece in the directory? I counted 700 families in which two or more members had served in Congress. I eventually explored these questions in a book, "America's Political Dynasties," published more than four decades ago."

When one contemplates the numbers of households/families, in 2015 numbering 124,590,000,, distinct surnames numbering between 150,000 to 1,350,000 (the date is still being counted and will be released in 2020), and the American population numbering 318,900,000, the fact that it is even possible to discuss dynasties existing in American politics should render the possibility of it occurring, out of reach, but it isn't. It happens frequently, which is concerning, when the amount of corruption perceived to exist happens, and given the roots of the United States having fought and defeated a monarchy in the name of freedom; yet, clearly, nepotism exists, and exists to a point, that given the references above, is too large to number, which even includes people such as discredited Sheriff Lee Baca, who has three relatives who have served public office, one of whom has served as senator, and Lee Baca isn't even included on the list I counted, when it i still a public office.

Some interesting notes:

The Kennedys:

1.) Arrived to the United States in 1849 from Ireland. Have had 12 members of their immediate bloodline serve public office since arriving.

2.) Two of them married men who would serve as governor, and another married to the mayor of Boston.

3.) Sargent Shriver, who never served, was the Democratic VP Nominee in 1972

4.) The first Kennedy took office in 1884, 35 years after their arrival, meaning that in 132 years, 17 people from their line, have either run, held, or been married to people holding public office.

John Kerry :

1.) Distant blood relative to the Bush family.

2.) A member of the Forbes family.

3.) Husband to Teresa Heinz, who's family also includes prominent politicians and wealth.

4.) Direct family lineage includes at least one chief justice and a senator.

5.) Kerry himself served as senator for almost 30 years, before becoming Secretary of State, and has served as Lt. governor and congressman since 1972 (almost 45 years).

I've been reading this all day, and it's starting to sound like a skull and bones party before even the beginning of the States, and also having cross referenced this with lists from Forbes wealthiest... smh

"In 1848, for example, more than 16 percent of congressional seats were filled by someone whose relative had previously held the position [source: Kieley]. Moreover, a 2006 study found that Congress members who serve more than one term have a 40 percent chance of someone in their family later ending up in Congress [source: Alexander]. "
Title: Lincoln
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 22, 2016, 12:00:52 PM
It's freakin' American poetry by a man who read Shakespeare and spoke like a frontiersman.

While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. 2

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." 3
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Like • Reply • 13 hrs

Stephen W. Browne The first inaugural address is Machiavellian in its reasoning. It simultaneously attempts to reassure - and warn the South of the consequences of breaking the Union. A comparison between the two would seem to indicate a strong cynicism in Lincoln, but I think there's something more.

Lincoln is our "Second Founder" in Francis Bacon's term. A man who after the Founders completed the shaping of America. An ambiguous blessing to be sure. He ended an odious violation of human rights, and created dangerous precedents doing so.
Tough shit. Life is like that.

Like • Reply • 13 hrs
Stephen W. Browne BTW for more about Founders, Second Founders, and the Progressives who envy the Founders, see:
Title: Frederick Douglas
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 08, 2017, 03:26:51 PM
Title: Japanese Retaliation for the Doolittle Raid
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 26, 2017, 06:57:39 AM
The Untold Story of the Vengeful Japanese Attack After the Doolittle Raid
When the U.S. responded to Pearl Harbor with a surprise bombing of Tokyo, the Imperial Army took out its fury on the Chinese people

Planes Preparing
The flight deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Hornet, some 800 miles off Tokyo Japan, where it shows some of 16 Billy Mitchell (B-25) Bombers, under the command of Major Jimmy Doolittle, just before they were guided off flight deck for historic raid on Tokyo, April of 1942. (Bettmann/Corbis)
By James M. Scott
April 15, 2015

At midday on April 18, 1942, 16 U.S. Army bombers, under the command of daredevil pilot Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, thundered into the skies over Tokyo and other key Japanese industrial cities in a surprise raid designed to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor. For the 80 volunteer raiders, who lifted off that morning from the carrier Hornet, the mission was one-way. After attacking Japan, most of the aircrews flew on to Free China, where low on fuel, the men either bailed out or crash-landed along the coast and were rescued by local villagers, guerrillas and missionaries.

That generosity shown by the Chinese would trigger a horrific retaliation by the Japanese that claimed an estimated quarter-million lives and would prompt comparisons to the 1937-38 Rape of Nanking. American military authorities, cognizant that a raid on Tokyo would result in a vicious counterattack upon free China, saw the mission through regardless, even keeping the operation a secret from their Pacific theater allies. This chapter of the Doolittle Raid has largely gone unreported—until now.

Long-forgotten missionary records discovered in the archives of DePaul University for the first time shed important new light on the extent to which the Chinese suffered in the aftermath of the Doolittle raid.

In the moments after the attack on Tokyo, Japanese leaders fumed over the raid, which had revealed China’s coastal provinces as a dangerous blind spot in the defense of the homeland. American aircraft carriers not only could launch surprise attacks from the seas and land safely in China but could possibly even fly bombers directly from Chinese airfields to attack Japan. The Japanese military ordered an immediate campaign against strategically important airfields, issuing an operational plan in late April, just days after the Doolittle raid.

Survivor accounts point to an ulterior objective: to punish the Chinese allies of the United States forces, especially those towns where the American aviators had bailed out after the raid. At the time, Japanese forces occupied Manchuria as well as key coastal ports, railways and industrial and commercial centers in China.

Preview thumbnail for video 'Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor
Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor

The dramatic account of one of America’s most celebrated— and controversial—military campaigns: the Doolittle Raid.

Read more:
Title: Ed Rothstein/WSJ: Complexities of the Japanese WW2 internment
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 26, 2017, 08:51:15 AM
By Edward Rothstein
Hyde Park and Queens, N.Y.

How did it happen that 75 years ago this week the decision was made to send about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who lived along the West Coast to internment camps deep in the nation’s heartland? How did it happen that—as we see in the photographs in a fine new exhibition at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, “Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II”—they were forced to board up their stores, evacuate their homes, abandon agricultural work and line up in streets with only the possessions they could carry? And that they ultimately were conducted to 10 ”War Relocation Centers”—most formed of tar-paper covered barracks in vast forbidding landscapes—where they lived in cramped quarters until the end of the war?

Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II
FDR Presidential Library & Museum
Through Dec. 31
Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center
The Noguchi Museum
Through Jan. 7, 2018

In more than 200 images from five photographers, including Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, we see how they hobbled together communities in these far-flung camps, establishing schools and newspapers and sports teams—while piecing together their upended lives. It was only in 1988 that an official apology was offered by President Reagan to those interned, with $20,000 in restitution paid to each surviving person.
But why did it happen? As the exhibition tells us, in the months after Pearl Harbor, there were “deep anxieties” about Japanese “naval assaults, bombing raids, or invasion.” A “climate of fear” combined with “racial prejudice.”

That is what led to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, allowing the designation of militarily sensitive areas within which “any or all persons may be excluded.” Here the area was along the West Coast—home to aircraft and shipbuilding facilities, and a possible wartime front. The persons excluded were those with Japanese ancestry—some two thirds were American citizens.

The injustice was compounded because, as the exhibition states and historians widely believe, “no serious evidence” exists that made the population a threat. This exhibition and others have focused, then, on making the scale of the injustice palpable. In the case of a show at the Noguchi Museum in Queens—“Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center”—we are also asked to see the aesthetic consequences. The sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), whose father was Japanese, volunteered to enter the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona. He arrived in May 1942, wanting to teach and improve conditions. But frustrated both by the camp administration and by those interned, he soon sought to leave. The episode, though, had aroused suspicions. His release was held up for months, until November 1942. He wasn’t even allowed out to see an exhibition of his work in San Francisco that July.
In a roughly chronological display of his work during this period, you see the transformation that the curator Dakin Hart outlines. We move from early sculpted portraiture to Poston-inspired works like “This Tortured Earth” (1942-43) and “Yellow Landscape” (1943), which include organic forms that are distended and punctured. Then comes another transformation evident in a sampling of later work: weighty polished abstractions, with elements suggesting portals and doors.

But we also get some unusual historical insight from documents on display. In a letter of Jan. 21, 1942—after Pearl Harbor but before the internments—Noguchi alludes to Isei (the immigrants themselves—the first generation—who were not generally citizens) as “potentially” being “the most dangerous,” with a “large subversive element among them” that must be counteracted by encouraging “loyalty to America.” In a post-Poston, February 1943 essay in the New Republic, “Trouble Among Japanese Americans,” Noguchi notes “that about 50 percent of non-citizens” in the camps “are now at least passively loyal to America.”

Noguchi’s allusions to pro-Axis sympathies are startling because they jar against today’s tendency to see internment as a morality play in which the wholly innocent are wholly wronged. But while the existence of racism and hysteria is beyond question, wariness was not as completely irrational as is widely assumed. And that played a role in the injustices to follow. Certainly, the act of internment itself was not unique. Britain interned Jewish refugees from Germany as enemy aliens; Japanese Canadians were interned for longer than their American counterparts and lost all property rights. The U.S. Enemy Alien Control Program constricted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Italian and German residents who were considered “enemy aliens.”
'Evacuees' arrive under guard at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, April 5, 1942. A child sits amid family baggage while waiting for the bus to a government 'assembly center,' spring 1942. The Japanese American owner of this Oakland, Calif., grocery placed this sign on his storefront on December 8, 1941. Photo taken by Dorothea Lange, March 13, 1942. Risa and Yasubei Hirano pose with son, George, and a framed photograph of their son, Shigera. The Hirano family lived in Watsonville, California before being incarcerated at the Colorado River Relocation Center in Poston, Arizona. Shigera Hirano served in the U.S. Army in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team while his family was confined.PHOTOS: CLEM ALBERS/NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS

There were also good reasons for West Coast wariness. In the 1930s, Japanese-language schools in California regularly taught loyalty to the emperor. In Hawaii, a Japanese couple tried to help a downed Japanese pilot escape just after the Pearl Harbor attack. Japanese submarines patrolled the West Coast; one shelled an oil field near Santa Barbara, Calif., on Feb. 23, 1942. And decoded intercepts of Japanese cables suggested the presence of Japanese agents; one dispatch sent before Pearl Harbor referred to contacts made with “absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area.”

This helps explain, but, of course, it does not excuse. How, though, can we get a sense of the era’s history without such information? And how can future situations be understood if the portrayal of this one is so limited? There is no need to insist that the internees were all innocent, the fear all irrational, and the racism all encompassing. Seventy five years later, we ought to be able to deal with the shameful yet comprehensible complexities of the truth.

—Mr. Rothstein is the Journal’s Critic at Large.
Title: American into WW1
Post by: ccp on April 09, 2017, 08:34:24 AM
I am old enough to remember the 100 th anniversary of the end (if not the beginning) of the American Civil War (April 1965).  If I am not mistaken that was the year the last known Civil War soldier died too.

I lived long enough to now witness the 100 th anniversary of the beginning of our involvement in WW1:
Title: Re: American into WW1
Post by: G M on April 09, 2017, 08:59:13 AM
I am old enough to remember the 100 th anniversary of the end (if not the beginning) of the American Civil War (April 1965).  If I am not mistaken that was the year the last known Civil War soldier died too.

I lived long enough to now witness the 100 th anniversary of the beginning of our involvement in WW1:

The way things are headed, you'll be around for WWIII and/or the 2nd Civil War.

Title: Re: American History
Post by: DDF on April 10, 2017, 09:05:50 AM
About time. Wars have a way of sorting things out.
Title: doolittle raid april 18 , 1942
Post by: ccp on April 16, 2017, 10:10:07 AM,_Plane_1.jpg
Title: Re: American History D Day, The Ordeal of Omaha Beach
Post by: DougMacG on June 06, 2017, 12:11:17 PM
the passing of the years and the retelling of the story have softened the horror of Omaha Beach on D Day.
Title: Re: American History D Day, The Ordeal of Omaha Beach
Post by: G M on June 06, 2017, 12:17:54 PM
the passing of the years and the retelling of the story have softened the horror of Omaha Beach on D Day.

Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on June 06, 2017, 02:27:04 PM
I have uncle still alive who was in D day.  Was on only vessel that was sunk .  He was in the engineers.  Not first wave.
Was not in the action but did watch it from a distance.

He is a Trump fan I am told.  America first.
Title: Patrick Henry forced James Madison to pass the Bill of Rights
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 22, 2017, 05:52:40 PM
Title: American History, Comparing Reagan to FDR? Steven Hayward
Post by: DougMacG on August 24, 2017, 06:13:09 AM
Correcting revisionist history, only Reagan biographer Steve Hayward could differentiate Reagan from FDR so persuasively incorporating all of this in a short essay.  Trump, Reagan, John F Kennedy, Karl Marx, FDR, Coolidge, Eisenhower, Clinton, Obama, Romney, Truman, Taft, Churchill, New Deal, LBJ, Great Society, Goldwater, Nixon, Greenspan, constitutional originalism, fascism, capitalism, moral hazard, governing philosophies, rhetorical choices and discipline, working class voters, The Forgotten Man, conservatism, libertarianism, Keynesianism, centralized regulation, social insurance, limiting principles of liberalism and more - all seamlessly woven together.

Will the Real Ronald Reagan Please Stand Up?
By: Steven F. Hayward
August 17, 2017

Henry Olsen’s revisionist thesis in The Working-Class Republican is that Ronald Reagan’s political career was devoted to perpetuating rather than repudiating Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. “The man many label as the twentieth century’s most conservative president,” Olsen contends, “was more than a casual backer of FDR.”

Working-Class Republican should be understood in the context of Olsen’s warnings, repeated frequently over the past decade, that Republicans were failing utterly to offer a compelling message or policy agenda for “Reagan Democrats,” the white working-class voters crucial to the landslide victories of 1980 and ’84. Instead, Olsen warns, the GOP has focused on the investor class and entrepreneurs. Whatever the abstract merits of that approach, it overlooks the simple fact that most voters are not entrepreneurs, but employees, averse to risk-taking. And the optics are as bad as the policies. When challenging Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee said pointedly, “I want to be a president who reminds you of the guy you work with, not the guy who laid you off.”

By degrees, Olsen figured out that the interpreting Reagan was like viewing an Impressionist painting: only by stepping back could we see the picture correctly. Virtually all Republicans today represent themselves as Reaganites, but what if they are looking only at narrow brushstrokes?

Olsen’s is the latest revisionist account of Reagan, and by far the boldest. Gene Kopelson has argued that Dwight Eisenhower was Reagan’s most decisive influence and model, Irving Kristol that he was the first neoconservative, and such liberal writers as Richard Reeves and John Patrick Diggins that he really was a pragmatic moderate after all. Has Olsen unearthed the Reagan Rosetta stone?

Olsen has more to worry about from those who endorse his thesis than from those who reject it. Recent liberal fans will use Reagan’s supposed “pragmatism” to attack Republicans for moving far to the right. Reagan could not win the GOP nomination if he was a candidate today, they claim. In 2009, an audacious Jonathan Rauch National Journal article argued that because Reagan compromised with the opposition, agreed to some tax increases (but never the ones the liberals wanted) and fell short of some of his declared goals (such as a balanced budget), he was not a Reaganite. Jacob Heilbrunn, writing in the Los Angeles Times, also concluded that Reagan’s greatness “rested precisely in his readiness to abandon his conservative principles.” This transparently insincere charge, embraced by people never fond of Reagan or conservative principles, has managed to gain plausibility through sheer repetition in liberal media echo chambers. This faction will treat Working-Class Republican as a vindication.

Orthodox conservatives, on the other hand, think Reagan represented a direct lineage to Barry Goldwater and the self-conscious conservative “movement” that began to take shape in the 1950s, the time when Reagan was changing his political views. The apotheosis of this Reagan is his remark in an interview with Reason magazine in 1975: “I believe that the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Olsen uses Reagan’s own deeds and words, even from that same Reason interview, to make clear that Reaganism cannot be reduced to libertarianism. Olsen is right to direct our attention to Reagan’s departures from a schematic conservative or libertarian orthodoxy, both in rhetoric and policy choices. Due to his dazzling success, conservatives have come to treat Reagan as the embodiment of their cause, as well as the model for aspiring Republican politicians, thereby distracting us from the idiosyncratic conservatism that was the product of an utterly unique mind. The question of authentic Reaganism goes beyond historical interest or ideological nostalgia, since it bears on the deep confusion conservatives and the Republican Party feel in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s nomination and election. This question is at the heart of Working-Class Republican.

Olsen is not the first to emphasize the continuity between FDR and Reagan. Richard Neustadt, a leading presidential scholar for decades at Harvard, called Reagan “a New Deal Republican” very early in Reagan’s presidency. And then there’s a significant comment Reagan made in his diary in January 1982, when he was under attack for his proposed budget cuts: “The press is dying to paint me as now trying to undo the New Deal. I remind them I voted for FDR 4 times. I’m trying to undo the ‘Great Society.’ It was LBJ’s war on poverty that led to our present mess.”

This statement is true if deduced from most of Reagan’s actions as governor and president. With only two partial exceptions, he did not attempt to alter New Deal-era social insurance programs in any significant way. First, Reagan made a half-hearted, half-baked attempt to scale back Social Security in 1981, and then expressed disappointment in his diary that the Greenspan Commission he appointed to extricate him from this political mistake did not propose bolder reforms. Second, in 1985 Reagan’s budget proposal unsuccessfully attempted a serious cutback of New Deal-era farm subsidies. By contrast, he rebuffed a 1986 GOP effort on Capitol Hill to curtail Social Security and Medicare.

Reagan was fond of saying, publicly, that “we launched a war on poverty, and poverty won.” Nonetheless, the oft-cited diary entry about the New Deal and Great Society doesn’t quite parse. Reagan was giving speeches against overweening government, and worrying about the implicit socialism of Democratic liberalism, well before the Great Society was launched in the early 1960s. He wrote to Richard Nixon in 1960 about John F. Kennedy: “Under that tousled boyish haircut is still old Karl Marx—first launched a century ago.” Was Reagan somehow clairvoyant, anticipating what liberalism would become under the Great Society?

Sorting out Olsen’s argument requires, first, asking whether it’s too broad ... or too narrow. Reagan himself said that FDR was his model for how to conduct the presidency, especially in its public dimensions. Reagan praised FDR’s fireside chats. Entirely novel when FDR started them, Reagan emulated their style and conversational format, especially FDR’s confidence-inducing disposition. Though Reagan’s admiration for FDR may have been more a matter of style than substance, the style of presidential leadership should not be deprecated. As Winston Churchill said, “Meeting Roosevelt was like taking your first sip of champagne.” (I’ve often wondered how much the end of Prohibition was an unquantifiable boost to FDR’s presidency.) Nevertheless, the contrast with Roosevelt’s Democratic successors today is obvious; Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are more like a gulp of castor oil.

Olsen would not disagree, but his case rests on substance over style. Reagan’s long-time economic adviser Martin Anderson once told me that despite Reagan’s general kind words for FDR and the New Deal, he could not recall Reagan ever endorsing a specific New Deal policy, though Olsen’s account provides a different answer to this question. But if anyone wants to see Reagan as the heir of the New Deal, he has to get past one of Reagan’s most famous critiques of it—his 1976 remark that “Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.” Democrats lustily seized upon this remark to make trouble for Reagan in 1980, and the media obliged by hounding Reagan about it in “news analysis” articles. Rather than backpedal, Reagan, to his campaign managers’ consternation, stoutly defended his comments. In August 1980 Reagan told dumbfounded reporters: “Anyone who wants to look at the writings of the Brain Trust of the New Deal will find that President Roosevelt’s advisers admired the fascist system. . .  They thought that private ownership with government management and control a la the Italian system was the way to go, and that has been evident in all their writings.” This was, Reagan added, “long before fascism became a dirty word in the lexicon of the liberals.”

If Reagan’s guiding purpose really was the continuation and elaboration of the New Deal, we should first clarify the New Deal’s meaning. For one thing, if Olsen is right, his larger argument goes beyond Reagan and makes us confront more directly how the Democratic Party has abandoned the New Deal, even if it defends its programs from any reform today. Reagan liked to say, from his earliest days in politics, that “I didn’t leave my party—my party left me.” This has been dismissed as mere rhetoric, but Olsen’s analysis makes us take it more seriously, since it explains why many Trump voters abandoned the Democratic Party in the belief that it has abandoned the New Deal.

And it suggests there is a breathtaking opportunity for conservatives, if only they would realize it. If today’s liberals are going to give up on liberalism, why not steal FDR away from them—returning the Democrats’ favor. In the 1930s, for example, FDR said, “I think it is time for us Democrats to claim Lincoln as one of our own.” In one of his last speeches as president in October 1988, Reagan put it this way:

The party of F.D.R. and Harry Truman couldn’t be killed. The party that represents people like you and me, that represents the majority of Americans—this party hasn’t disappeared. The fact is we’re stronger than ever. You see, the secret is that when the Left took over the Democratic Party, we took over the Republican Party. We made the Republican Party into the party of working people; the family; the neighborhood; the defense of freedom; and, yes, the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to “one nation under God.” So, you see, the party that so many of us grew up with still exists, except that today it’s called the Republican Party.
So what was the New Deal? There are some good conservative accounts of it, such as Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man (2007) and New Deal or Raw Deal? (2008) by Burt Folsom. Conrad Black offers the only conservative biography of FDR, finding him a “champion of freedom,” but chiefly on the basis of his World War II role rather than the domestic issues that interest Olsen. Perhaps the best book about the deeper domestic politics of the New Deal from a conservative point of view is one of the oldest, Raymond Moley’s After Seven Years (1939), which told of his disillusionment with the New Deal’s descent into decay and corruption after a good beginning.

At a minimum, the New Deal can be said to comprise four essential attributes: 1) Keynesian counter-cyclical spending (partly in the form of public works); 2) immediate relief from destitution and new long-term social insurance (especially Social Security); 3) more aggressive and centralized regulation of industries in ways that at times verged on direct economic planning (this was the fascistic part—think of the National Industrial Recovery Act); and 4) putting the New Deal’s programmatic machinery to partisan uses, culminating in the perpetual motion machine captured by Harry Hopkins’s famous slogan, “Tax, tax, spend, spend, elect, elect.”

Of these four aspects, Reagan really only matches up well with 2), relief from destitution and support for social insurance. He had no truck with Keynesian spending, and always recoiled at government regulation. But Olsen’s on to something important regarding Reagan’s acceptance of social insurance. In fact, he could have made this main point even stronger. The New Deal emphasized work, even putting people on the government payroll if necessary, but was also willing to provide support for people unable to work, like mothers and the elderly. With the exception of his fondness for punitively high tax rates, Roosevelt was not a redistributionist. Roosevelt’s social insurance outlook implicitly operated according the old distinction, which Reagan occasionally made explicit, between the “deserving poor” and those who had no legitimate claim to public assistance. Olsen rightly points to the example of Governor Reagan’s California welfare reforms, which coupled tighter eligibility standards and a work requirement for able-bodied adults with larger welfare grants for the “truly needy.”

Working-Class Republican dwells on Reagan’s frequent use of the term “social safety net” (Olsen’s emphasis), though the “social” modifier is unnecessary to understand Reagan’s meaning. I once did a word search of presidential statements throughout the 20th century using the phrase “safety net.” Hoover used it twice, and that’s about it. As far as I can tell, FDR never uttered the words. Reagan revived this term, though some recent articles give him credit for originating it. (The “safety net” formulation may trace back to Churchill during his Liberal Party reformist period from 1904-1910.)

The central fact about Reagan’s use of the term is that in the 1980s the Left hated it, because it represented a rebuke to income redistribution, a commitment that had gradually taken hold of the Democratic Party. Recall the National Welfare Rights Organization and the rise of social programs as entitlements in the 1960s. When Reagan opposed Nixon’s guaranteed annual income proposal, the Family Assistance Plan, in 1969 and 1970—the only governor in the country to do so—he said in a TV debate that “I believe that the government is supposed to promote the general welfare; I don’t think it is supposed to provide it.” If welfare was centralized in Washington, Reagan knew, reform would be all but impossible and there would be a bias toward increased spending in the future. “It would only be the first installment,” Reagan observed. “Raising the annual family grant would become an election-year must.” Despite Reagan’s intense and active opposition, the Family Assistance Plan was primarily killed by the Left, because its income transfer was too small. Some smart leftists today recognize this failure to get a foot in the door as their single biggest strategic blunder of the last 50 years.

“If there is one area of social policy,” Reagan began to say in his standard stump speech, “that should be at the most local level of government possible, it is welfare. It should not be nationalized—it should be localized.” Reagan practiced what he preached, and preached what he practiced. While president, it was not unusual for him to send personal checks to citizens who wrote about their their hard times in letters his correspondence unit selected for him to read. In one 1982 speech, Reagan argued that if every church and synagogue in America adopted one poor household it would not only reach everyone in need but would do a much better job providing help than a government bureaucracy. In another 1982 speech to the NAACP (amidst a fierce recession), Reagan argued that the Great Society had done more harm than good for black Americans. Liberals howled with indignation about both of these heresies.

In the 1930s leftists complained that FDR “saved capitalism” and prevented a socialist revolution by his palliatives. It is not a stretch to see him in alignment with Reagan on this point. While FDR oversaw the launch of the federal government’s largest welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), he recognized the moral hazard of unqualified relief, remarking about the risk of dependency and perverse results from an undisciplined welfare state. As he told Congress in 1935:

The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.... It is in violation of the traditions of America.
Reagan quoted this remark a few times during his campaigns in the 1970s (along with FDR’s embrace of a balanced budget in the 1932 campaign), to the annoyance of Ted Kennedy and Arkansas’s young governor Bill Clinton, Democrats who bitterly protested Reagan’s larceny. Reagan put it this way in his memoirs: “Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., often told me that his father had said many times his welfare and relief programs during the Depression were meant only as emergency, stopgap measures to cope with a crisis, not the seeds of what others later tried to turn into a permanent welfare state.” Certainly today the utilization of Food Stamps and disability has grown out of proportion, and have become ersatz general welfare programs, both contributing to the opioid epidemic in ways FDR warned against.

Olsen’s case rests on a careful reading of Reagan’s speeches and articles, noting subtleties and distinctions that escape many readers. In the 1960s Reagan never attacked the Great Society without offering his sharply contrasting positive alternative: the Creative Society, based on self-governing citizens’ initiative, wherein “government will lead but not rule, listen but not lecture.” As his put in in his first inaugural address in 1981, government exists to “work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride our back.” Now and then Reagan’s heirs have attempted to emulate this practice. One thinks of Newt Gingrich’s “Opportunity Society” in the 1980s and Paul Ryan’s “Ownership Society” more recently. But neither is as capacious as Reagan’s outlook, nor were they sustained rhetorically. (Reagan was a big believer in repetition, something that Donald Trump almost alone seems to understand instinctively.) The biggest defect of liberalism in the post-New Deal era is that it has no limiting principle. There is no social problem for which there isn’t a new or expanded government program, and for which money isn’t the core of the solution. Reagan understood the need for limits and discipline, cautioning in 1967: “The time has come for us to decide whether collectively we can afford everything and anything simply because we think of it.”

Equally significant is how, as Olsen notes, Reagan rarely used the term “conservative” in his general public speeches, or even “Republican.” He restricted his use of these terms to select audiences, like party gatherings or Conservative Political Action Conferences. His famous “Time for Choosing” speech is the model for his unique and effective rhetorical practice. Olsen is correct to distinguish the conservatism of Reagan’s “Time for Choosing,” more personal and narrative in form, from Goldwater’s abstract anti-New Dealism. While a deeply conservative speech in most ways, Reagan declaimed that it was neither partisan nor ideological, but a matter of plain common sense.

While this distinction might not survive close logical analysis, as a matter of practical political rhetoric Reagan was undoubtedly correct. One can see the parallel in Barack Obama’s “no red America, no blue America” theme in his famous 2004 keynote speech. It explains Reagan’s enduring appeal to millions of non-ideological voters who have no difficulty supporting the general principle of government assistance for struggling citizens, but oppose the abuses of government programs that most liberals deny or dismiss. (One of the few liberals who took the problem seriously was Bill Clinton, who ran on “ending welfare as we know it” in 1992. He understood that working-class voters resented an out-of-control welfare state, and in 1996 acceded to the Reaganite welfare reform plan devised by congressional Republicans.)

Reagan would never have used “makers and takers,” the phrase that caught conservatives’ fancy for a time under Obama. Recall how Mitt Romney’s infamous remark about the “47 percent”—another comment Reagan would never have made—crippled his campaign. The lesson here is that conservatives like Ted Cruz who boast of being “Reagan conservatives” on the stump are talking in a way that Reagan himself never did. No one can imagine Reagan calling himself a “Coolidge conservative.”

Beyond the programmatic considerations Olsen explores, there is more to be said about FDR’s overall political philosophy. Doing so is tricky, in part because a consistent Roosevelt hard to find, and Reagan was nothing if not consistent for most of his political life. Nearly every historian likes to focus on FDR’s changes of course and improvisations, as exemplified in his endorsement of “bold, persistent experimentation.” Shlaes concludes, on this basis, that FDR was “intellectually unstable.”

But it is possible to make out a serious core to FDR’s thought, especially in his 1932 Commonwealth Club Address. There, Roosevelt partly repudiated Woodrow Wilson’s Progressivism (especially its rejection of individualism and the American Founding), while embracing the defective political economy of Progressivism, which held that the era of competitive entrepreneurial capitalism was over. FDR’s orientation toward preserving middle-class and working-class opportunity is paramount in his outlook, supporting the case that the New Deal was conservative of the American political tradition in ways that the Progressive Era was not. Radicals criticized the New Deal on this basis in the 1930s, and today’s Democrats have reacquired that older Progressive disdain for the American political tradition. Many now call themselves “Progressives” rather than “liberals.”

While Reagan can be said to have shared this middle-out disposition of FDR’s, two aspects of FDR’s political outlook are particularly difficult to square with Reagan’s. First, there was his language about “economic royalists” and “malefactors of great wealth.” Roosevelt had a penchant for “hunting rich men as if they were obnoxious beasts,” Churchill cautioned in an otherwise laudatory 1934 essay, which expressed enthusiasm for the New Deal and FDR’s leadership capacities. At one point early in World War II, FDR proposed a 100% income tax rate starting at $25,000 (roughly equivalent to $390,000 today). Reagan never supported punitive taxation of this kind, nor shared any of FDR’s indifference to capital investment. (Moley reported that Roosevelt especially hated talk of “business confidence.”) Reagan was always a future-oriented technophile, a believer in the innovation of entrepreneurs.

A related important contrast is between the proposals for an “Economic Bill of Rights” that both men offered as president. Roosevelt’s 1944 roster formed the core of today’s liberal agenda—a right to housing, a job, food, and health care, for starters, all requiring government provision. Such guarantees of course, efface the older liberal distinction between rights, as limitations on government power, and benefits, as privileges within the limits of resources. Reagan stood FDR’s understanding on its head in his 1987 proposal for his own Economic Bill of Rights, which harkened back to the old restraints: a balanced-budget requirement, supermajorities for tax increases, a constitutional spending limit, and an explicit prohibition on wage-and-price controls.

The second sharp, unbridgeable difference between FDR and Reagan is related to the first. FDR regarded the Constitution as an impediment to his desires, as seen by his intemperate attacks on the Supreme Court, culminating in his ill-advised court-packing scheme at the start of his second term. This was another place where Churchill criticized Roosevelt, most notably in a 1936 essay written before the court-packing scheme:

Taking the rigidity out of the American Constitution” means, and is intended to mean, new gigantic accessions of power to the dominating center of government and giving it the means to make new fundamental laws enforceable upon all Americans.
Reagan, a thoroughgoing if early constitutional originalist, understood this point instinctively. For the New Deal’s architects, centralized regulatory power promised many benefits and few risks, though there are fragments suggesting FDR might have had misgivings. FDR remarked in 1938:

We need trained personnel in government. We need disinterested, as well as broad-gauged, public officials. This part of our problem we have not yet solved, but it can be solved and it can be accomplished without the creation of a national bureaucracy which would dominate the national life of our governmental system.
And it is nearly forgotten that FDR drew back from the full implications of his attacks on “economic royalism.” “Let me emphasize,” he also said in 1944, “that serious as have been the errors of unrestrained individualism, I do not believe in abandoning the system of individual enterprise.” On balance, Franklin Roosevelt was probably more dubious about a jihad against the malefactors of great wealth than his Republican cousin Theodore.

It should be recalled that Reagan’s announcement speech for his 1976 campaign (though not, significantly, his 1980 campaign) began with a criticism of the New Deal:

Back in the Depression years there were those who promised to overcome hard times. Franklin Delano Roosevelt embarked on a course that made bold use of government to ease the pain of those times. Although some of his measures seemed to work, he was soon moved to sound a warning.  He said, “[W]e have built new instruments of public power in the hands of the people’s government...but in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of our people.”

Unfortunately, that warning went unheeded. Today, there is an economic autocracy, born of government’s growing interference in our lives. Yet Washington, for all its power, seems powerless to solve problems any more.
It would be worth knowing what Reagan had in mind by saying that some of FDR’s measures seemed to work. Reagan’s broader point connects closely with two of his favorite themes: First, that this form of centralized government would divide the nation effectively into ruling elites and “the masses.” One of his most emphatic lines in the “Time for Choosing” speech, and often repeated in his 1970s radio addresses, was “I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as ‘the masses.’” Second, it would deform the Constitution. As he put it in a 1979 letter to a friend, “The permanent structure of our government with its power to pass regulations has eroded if not in effect repealed portions of our Constitution.”

This does not necessarily mean Olsen is wrong about Reagan and Roosevelt beyond the social insurance parallel. As Reagan himself observed, “As smart as he was, I suspect even FDR didn’t realize that once you create a bureaucracy, it took on a life of its own,” which shows Reagan’s residual regard even for FDR’s possible blind spots. Working-Class Republican maintains a tight focus on Reagan, but Olsen may not give his subject enough credit for being a more profound, independent, and original political thinker than Roosevelt, for Reagan transcends FDR in many ways. (The comparison would be even stronger if Reagan’s foreign policy philosophy and statecraft were laid next to Roosevelt’s, but that would require a separate book. It’s noteworthy that Reagan liked to quote Harry Truman in foreign policy remarks, but seldom FDR.) If anything, Reagan should be thought of more as in line with Lincoln, which Olsen nods toward in a couple of places, especially Lincoln’s inclination to “put the man before the dollar.”

More broadly, Olsen’s argument raises an important question for us to consider today: was the early conservative movement mistaken to oppose the New Deal categorically, seeking from Taft through Goldwater to roll it back in toto. If so, just where and how should conservatives anchor their philosophy of social insurance? The disjointed, demoralizing efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare show that this debate is not merely about history. Above all, it provides valuable perspective on how Donald Trump, of all people, seems to have recaptured Reagan’s ability to reach working-class voters. Trump is indeed a powerful communicator, but not in the same league as the man called “the Great Communicator.” Maybe Trump will run for reelection in 2020 as the heir of FDR, and only then will the Republican Party come out from under the distorted shadow of Reagan. Stranger things have happened lately.

Steven F. Hayward is a senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.
Title: The Mystery of the CSA Hunley solved
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 26, 2017, 04:53:25 AM
Title: Ken Burns' Vietnam Documentary
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 07, 2017, 01:39:48 PM
Title: The Real Christopher Columbus
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 10, 2017, 05:41:47 AM
Title: Celia, a slave
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 19, 2017, 10:43:08 AM
Title: You have got to be kidding
Post by: ccp on October 19, 2017, 01:40:12 PM
 "In Minneapolis, a petition is circulating to replace a Columbus statue at the state capitol with one of the artist formerly known as Prince"

Yes lets revere an HIV  +  drug addict.

Title: American Nazis in the 1930s.
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 20, 2017, 11:44:08 PM
Title: Robert E. Lee
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 06, 2017, 10:51:18 PM
Title: The 442d made Honorary Texans
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 07, 2017, 11:31:20 AM
Title: Robert E. Lee's slaves
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 07, 2017, 06:42:01 AM
Title: Was the singing great or what?
Post by: ccp on December 08, 2017, 06:27:11 AM
Title: Native American history - a perspective
Post by: Lloyd De Jongh on January 15, 2018, 11:10:40 AM
Let's look at some Native American history.

Blame is often placed on white people for "land theft", with the subtle, unspoken implication that no other group did this. How non-white groups murdered each other, stole land, stole resources or their (highly primitive) pre-contact developmental status vs European settlers, is rarely critically discussed.

The benefits and upliftment brought by Westerners to these regions and people is overlooked. The bias against Western civilisation, and white people in particular, is powerful.

In Crow Creek, South Dakota, archeologists found the scalped, mutilated bodies of 486 men, old women and children. There were few bodies of young women because they were taken as sex slaves. The entire settlement was wiped out in a fight over, according to archeologists, arable land. This was in the mid-1300s, well before Columbus.

Indian tribes were battling each other constantly. French explorer Pierre La Vérendrye was one of the first Europeans to learn about the Assiniboine Cree and the Sioux. In 1743 he reported that "from time immemorial they have been deadly enemies".

A French priest wrote about a battle in 1742 in which the Assiniboine Cree killed or captured 270 Sioux. That would have been the population of an entire village at that time.

At about the same time the Crow Indians drove the original settlers out of the Yellowstone Valley. They ultimately found themselves surrounded by hostile tribes, and would likely have been exterminated except that they had an alliance with the US Cavalry, who protected them.

The Muscogee and Choctaw had a land dispute in 1790, where 500 were slaughtered in a single battle.

In the 18th century the Blackfoot tribe took the land of the Kootenai Indians, the Flathead Indians and part of the Shoshone lands.

The Hopi and the Zuni fought over arable land. After the Comanche got horses they drove the Osage, the Cheyenne and the Arapaho out of their hunting grounds.

During the Civil War the Comanche pushed white settlers in Texas 100 miles back to the east. They raided as far as 400 miles into Mexico, where they took thousands of slaves.
Parts of northern Mexico were almost completely depopulated because of Comanche raids.

The Sioux call themselves Lakota, which means "allies". Other tribes call them Sioux, a name the Ojibwa gave them meaning "snakes" or "enemies". They were originally from the Great Lakes but were pushed west by the Ojibwa and the Cree. Over a period of 200 years they fought at least 28 different tribes and drove the following people off their land:

The Sioux lands, recognised in an 1868 treaty with US government, were all taken from other tribes who were there first.

The largest battles that the Lakota/Sioux fought against the US Cavalry, including Little Bighorn, were over land that originally belonged to other Indian tribes.

In Montana in 1866 the Piggin Indians apparently killed more than 300 Crow in a single battle. This is more than the highest estimated casualty counts for Indians in any engagement with the US Army.

Post-contact with European settlers in the 19th century, more Indians in the West died fighting each other than died fighting with the settlers.

Raiding other people's lands kept these tribes so occupied that they failed to develop any kind of modern science, medicine, plumbing, technology, housing, engineering or even create a unified country, remaining essentially Stone Age people until the arrival of the European settlers, who brought modern science and technology with them.

I don't want to be unkind, but a deeper, more honest discussion of both sides of the issue is long overdue.

Title: Re: Native American history - a perspective
Post by: DougMacG on January 16, 2018, 10:33:35 AM
"I don't want to be unkind, but a deeper, more honest discussion of both sides of the issue is long overdue."

   - Great post Martel.  Rarely spoken truths. 

Title: WSJ: American troops battled Bolsheviks in Russian Far East
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 26, 2018, 10:33:40 AM
By Nathan Hodge
Jan. 26, 2018 10:25 a.m. ET

A century ago this year, a contingent of thousands of U.S. combat forces found themselves in the middle of Russia’s communist revolution, fighting on Russian soil for months in a losing battle against the Bolsheviks. Americans have largely forgotten the episode. Many Russians have not.

An amateur historian and his team of volunteer excavators in Arkhangelsk, in the north of European Russia, have dredged up artifacts from the battles. Their collection of helmets, shell casings and shrapnel testify to the ferocity of the fighting, which also included British, French and Canadian troops.

On the other side of the country, in Vladivostok, a Soviet-era painting memorializes the other American military incursion of that era. A caricature of imperialism, the painting depicts a man in a Panama hat smoking a cigar on board the USS Brooklyn as representatives of Western powers sip cocktails and carve up a map of eastern Russia.

The 1918 intervention was fodder for Soviet propaganda during the Cold War. “Your armed intervention in Russia is the most unpleasant episode that ever arose in the relations between our countries,” Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said during his 1959 visit to the U.S. “Our soldiers were never on American soil, and your soldiers were on Soviet land.”

The episode has resurfaced in recent years as tensions have risen between the U.S. and Russia. In December, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service boasted to the state-run Rossliskaya Gazeta that the various anti-Bolshevik interventions by the Allies in 1918 prompted “the first significant success of Russian counterintelligence.”

‘Your armed intervention in Russia is the most unpleasant episode that ever arose in the relations between our countries.’
—Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
Though the failed incursion of a century ago is largely forgotten in the U.S., it still provides a relevant cautionary lesson. It was an early instance of the perils of small-scale military interventions abroad without a clear mission or support at home.

After taking power in 1917, the Bolsheviks concluded a separate peace agreement with Germany, pulling Russia out of World War I. In an effort to reconstitute an eastern front against Germany, the British and French sought help from the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson agreed to send two American contingents, to either end of the country, and they arrived in August and September. Their initial goals were to protect caches of Allied arms and to help evacuate Allied forces. They tried to avoid contact with the Bolsheviks’ Red Army, but they were soon drawn into Russia’s raging civil war.

About 8,000 American soldiers, mostly from California and the Philippines, were sent to Vladivostok, at the eastern end of the Trans-Siberian Railway on the Japan Sea. Another 5,000, mostly from Michigan and Wisconsin, landed in Arkhangelsk by the White Sea, where they were placed under British command. They became known as the Polar Bear Expedition after the nickname for their infantry regiment, the 339th.

‘They wrote in their diaries, “We think everyone back home has completely forgotten us.” ’

—Alexei Sukhanovsky, amateur historian
Before the Americans arrived, however, the Bolsheviks had secured many of the Allied arms. As for the Allied troops they were sent to rescue—mostly Czechs and Slovaks who had fought on the czar’s behalf or deserted from the Austro-Hungarian army—they had largely evacuated themselves. By Nov. 11, when Germany signed an armistice with the Allies, there was no need for an eastern front.

But that was not the end of the campaign for the U.S., British and French soldiers in northern Russia. Under British command, they started fighting on behalf of the anti-Bolshevik White Army against the “Bolos,” or Red Army, a determined enemy with a home advantage. Meanwhile, in the Far East, the Americans came into confrontation with other forces in the many-sided conflict. The Cossack leader Grigori Semenoff, a onetime czarist officer who fought against the Reds, took advantage of the collapse of central authority to engage in banditry and plunder in the region. His activities brought him into conflict with American troops whose mission was to secure essential lines of communication in the Far East.

Many of the American soldiers questioned why they were still in Russia. “They wrote in their diaries, ‘We think everyone back home has completely forgotten us,” says Alexei Sukhanovsky, the amateur historian in Arkhangelsk who houses a growing collection, including military histories and memoirs from both sides, in a spare room of his office.

American families lobbied to bring the troops home, but while they urged action from Washington, more than 200 soldiers died, mostly from combat. By the spring of 1919, months after World War I had ended, conditions on the Arkhangelsk front were difficult, and morale was low. American soldiers began to resist orders. On March 30, when Army Sgt. Whitney McGuire ordered his men to an outpost close to Bolshevik positions, they rebelled. “They say we are fighting for the  Russians,” a soldier told a U.S. war correspondent shortly afterward. “Why don’t they do some fighting for themselves?”

The colonel in command bluntly explained to the troops why they would still have to man the front line: Outnumbered by the Bolsheviks and thousands of miles from home, they would otherwise be annihilated. “That is reason enough for me,” the officer said, according to an archival report.

Two days later, Corp. Cleo Colburn and nine other men would defend an isolated blockhouse from an assault by Bolshevik troops. According to a report by the same war correspondent, he fired 2,700 rounds from his Vickers machine gun over the course of one night. When the shooting ended, the Bolsheviks had disappeared into the forest, leaving 18 dead. Colburn’s diary describes their bloody trails in the snow.

The old battleground still yields new finds. Mr. Sukhanovsky’s reliquary includes a heavy steel pail, blown through with shrapnel, and the remnants of a first-aid kit, found near the frayed bits of a soldier’s uniform sleeve. Soldiers fashioned primitive cups from wire and ration cans. And there have been more poignant finds as well. Mr. Sukahnovsky shows a sheaf of papers, discovered near the remains of an unburied Bolshevik soldier. The body was found in a bed of spent brass cartridges.

“At first we thought it was cigarette paper,” Mr. Sukhanovsky says. His team sorted through the sheaf and found it was a book of school exercises. “That is, the man was illiterate, and was learning to read while he fought.”

In April 1919, a new American commander arrived in Arkhangelsk, carrying orders to withdraw. The Polar Bears eventually made it home to Michigan and Wisconsin. But the unit’s veterans would return to Russia on a final mission in 1929—to recover the bodies of their dead. The journey was sanctioned by the Soviet government. According to Mr. Sukhanovsky, Moscow had to instruct still-hostile local residents not to interfere with their work.
Title: G Will : Frederick Douglass
Post by: ccp on January 31, 2018, 06:36:37 PM
Title: President Chester Arthur in the aftermath of the McKinley assassination
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 03, 2018, 10:08:04 AM
Title: Congress very productive during the Civil War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 10, 2018, 09:11:17 AM
Title: Presidential polls
Post by: ccp on February 25, 2018, 07:33:49 AM
James Earl Carter ranked ahead of GH Bush:

Of course, Obama ranked top ten.  And of course, Trump last even though he has only been President for 13 months
Title: Texas declares Independence from Mexico
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 04, 2018, 04:10:05 PM
Title: James Earl Carter a conservative
Post by: ccp on May 10, 2018, 08:00:33 AM

From Nat Rev:

Compared to Brock Obama he certainly is a conservative but i would not see he at least purposely started something that Reagan finished .

I can't believe that at all.
Title: Re: James Earl Carter a conservative (President)
Post by: DougMacG on May 10, 2018, 08:17:19 AM
"Conservative" in the moderate Democrat sort, not supply sider or peace through strength advocate.

Remembering the debacle of McGovern losing 49 states to Nixon in 1972, Democrats chose Carter (Washington outsider!) in 1976 running as a conservative southern Democrat to NOT be a McGovern (or a Mondale).  He chose Mondale as running mate to balance the ticket with the Left of his party.  I think Carter became a flaming liberal after that.

Like Ford, he governed as an economic idiot more so than as a liberal.  Same with his foreign policy.  Like Ford, he did not understand what was wrong with the economy and therefore could not fix it.  

In 1980, Carter was challenged from the Left in his own party, Ted Kennedy, and Carter the sitting President almost lost.  Ted Kennedy ran on gas rationing and national healthcare.   His chief economic adviser was my econ professor.

Reagan's landslide was not predicted.  I remember being surprised and amazed on election night.  I was so proud of young voters for coming out of the 70s and voting conservative.

Time magazine: "For weeks before the presidential election, the gurus of public opinion polling were nearly unanimous in their findings. In survey after survey, they agreed that the coming choice between President Jimmy Carter and Challenger Ronald Reagan was “too close to call.” "

We had inflation of 7% when Nixon (governed as a Democrat) put a price wage freeze on the US economy, August 1971.  By the end of the decade we had inflation twice that, in double digits.  Nixon's 3-phase freeze, Ford's W.I.N. (Whip Inflation Now) campaign didn't work.  It was Carter who appointed Paul Volcker to the Fed, confirmed in August 1979.  Volcker announced tight money policies beginning in October 1979.

We could not have survived the tight money measures economically without the Reagan tax rate cuts that did not go fully into effect until January 1983, three painful years too late.  But Carter had no clue and was wed to the party of government, not private sector growth.

This economic period is well described and analyzed in (former WSJ Editor) Robert Bartley's book, The Seven Fat Years.

The tight money contraction should have been timed to coincide with the tax rate cuts and avoided the human economic tragedy, but that is not how our political system works.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 10, 2018, 09:58:43 AM
Regarding the airline deregulation under Carter:

In my third year of law school I was responsible for a moot court case to be argued by two second year students.  As part of this, two alumni sat with me on the appellate panel.  Prior to the case being argued, the two alumni and I had lunch at the faculty lounge or something like that-- anyway, a high class snooty place.

Conversation came to the recent airline deregulation.  I was in favor, but one of the alumni was emphatically against.  He argued that the big would eat the small, leading to increased concentration. Freshly inspired by my Anti-Trust law course I confidently replied that he was confusing protecting competitors and protecting competition and was missing the point about the market being competition between given cities and not the number of airlines and pointed out that Texas Air Lines had just eaten Pan Am.  This last point really set him off.

As we walked away from the lunch, the other alumni said to me "Son, do you know to whom you were speaking?"

I replied that I did not.

"That was Charles Tillinghast, former Chairman of Pan Am."

I may have garbled the details a bit (its been 38 years) but that is the gist of it as best as I remember.
Title: GHB (Bush 41) rescued September 1944
Post by: ccp on May 12, 2018, 01:33:26 PM
Title: Slave driven ceiling fans
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 16, 2018, 08:32:24 AM
Title: Militia Act of 1792
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 22, 2018, 07:20:47 AM
Title: Slave Revolts
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 16, 2018, 01:27:23 PM
Title: Civil War medical care
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 05, 2018, 06:58:04 AM
Title: Jefferson and the Northwest Ordinance
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 14, 2018, 04:58:33 PM
Title: media and DEms
Post by: ccp on July 16, 2018, 07:23:13 AM
have done good job pumping of Baraq;

But of course if you haven't lived long enough to see previous presidents what else would one expect?
Title: George Washington: The First American
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 26, 2018, 09:46:19 PM
Haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but my mom (who is seriously sharp btw) recommends it highly:

Title: POTP: Was McCarthy right about the left?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 26, 2018, 10:01:04 PM
second post
Title: The Capital as back drop of a hanging
Post by: ccp on August 04, 2018, 12:49:57 PM
The Old Capital Prison:

Henry Wirz, one of only two Civil War soldiers tried for war crimes:
Title: The Candid Story of the Alamo
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 08, 2018, 08:13:34 PM
Title: Is the legend of Paul Bunyon based on a real person(s)
Post by: ccp on September 22, 2018, 12:45:48 PM
Title: EARLY American History-- Who populated the Americas?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 02, 2018, 09:25:33 AM

Title: FDR in 1938
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 20, 2018, 10:23:04 AM
Title: American History: The Day the Evil Empire Retreated - Grenada, Reagan, WSJ
Post by: DougMacG on October 25, 2018, 08:57:12 AM
Don't we know someone who was there, a rescued medical student?

The Cold War began to end 35 years ago when Ronald Reagan ordered the liberation of Grenada.
By Otto Reich
Oct. 25, 2018 WSJ
The Cold War began to end on Oct. 25, 1983—something no one could have imagined only years before. The international situation was bleak when Ronald Reagan assumed office in 1981. The Soviets enjoyed a military, propaganda and nuclear strategic advantage. They controlled Eastern Europe and had invaded Afghanistan, while funding Marxist “wars of national liberation” across four continents. Moscow directed a global network of propagandists to persuade witting or naive Westerners into supporting anti-American disarmament campaigns.

The West had been immobilized by the Brezhnev Doctrine, declared after the bloody Soviet suppression of an anticommunist uprising in Czechoslovakia in 1968. It said that once a country became Marxist-Leninist, the process became irreversible. The Soviet army would enforce it.

“Vietnam syndrome” also weighed down the West. This was the notion that since America’s military involvement in Southeast Asia had not succeeded, the U.S. should no longer influence events around the world through the use of military force. It enabled America’s enemies to mount bold challenges to U.S. influence in the Caribbean Basin, a strategic “third border.”

In the Caribbean island nation of Grenada, the Soviets and their catspaw in the Western Hemisphere, Fidel Castro’s Cuba, were building a militarized socialist society. They also were constructing a massive airfield for military purposes, while stating publicly it was for commerce and tourism. They planned to expand communist ideology and totalitarianism to other islands in the Eastern Caribbean as they simultaneously undermined governments throughout the Americas.

Then Oct. 25, 1983, happened. President Reagan—declining to consult major allies, confronting fierce criticism from Congress and the media, facing opposition from some in his administration, and with little more than a weekend’s planning—ordered U.S. military forces to join law-enforcement units from neighboring English-speaking island nations and invade Grenada. Only six years later, in 1989, the Soviet empire began to disintegrate, finally disappearing in 1991. This liberated hundreds of millions of people in two dozen nations from oppression. The U.S.S.R. did not end because of the invasion of Grenada alone, but the shock of Reagan’s decisive action to the Soviet political, military and ideological organism was pivotal.

Grenada’s crisis started in 1979. Maurice Bishop, a young revolutionary with an affinity for Castro, overthrew the elected government and suspended the constitution. While Bishop imposed a radical socialist regime on the island, Cuba began building a massive airfield out of all proportion to the island’s needs. This drew America’s attention.

Soon a national-security concern became an emergency. On Oct. 19, 1983, Bishop’s even more radically Marxist deputy, Bernard Coard, seized power, executing Bishop and some cabinet officials. The British governor-general alerted the outside world to the imminent outbreak of civil war. Caught in the middle were some 800 American students attending medical school on the island.

Meanwhile, neighboring governments, led by the indomitable Dominica Prime Minister Mary Eugenia Charles, appealed for U.S. intervention to forestall the spreading bloodshed. Reagan responded: “What kind of country would we be if we refused to help small but steadfast democratic countries in our neighborhood to defend themselves against the threat of this kind of tyranny and lawlessness?”

Operation Urgent Fury commenced on Oct. 25. Despite minimal planning, the invasion succeeded after four days of heavy fighting. Nineteen American servicemen were killed and 115 wounded; the medical students were evacuated. With constitutional authority on the island restored, U.S. troops began withdrawing Nov. 2, only eight days after they landed.

Reagan’s critics condemned his use of military force without congressional consent and said the students had never been in danger. But news reports showing the rescued students profusely thanking U.S. paratroopers and Marines undermined these claims. Upon returning to U.S. soil, some students descended the aircraft steps, knelt, and kissed American ground.

The U.S. also achieved a stunning intelligence haul, seizing thousands of documents detailing how to construct a communist police state. U.S. forces discovered arms caches capable of equipping a 10,000-man force—some in crates labeled “Cuban Economic Office, Grenada.” Among those captured and eventually deported were nearly 800 Cubans, 49 Soviets, 10 East Germans, three Bulgarians, 15 North Koreans and 17 Libyans. Quite a throng of “tourists and merchants.”

Vietnam syndrome and the Brezhnev Doctrine perished in Grenada, replaced with a renewed American spirit that robustly confronted the Soviet Union and its proxies around the world. The liberation of Grenada—the first time American military force was used to roll back a communist government—transfigured the posture of the U.S. following the “malaise” of the Carter years. It demonstrated Reagan’s resolve to reclaim the U.S. role as the world’s premier defender of freedom.

Yet many Americans fail to appreciate that there was nothing inevitable about the collapse of Berlin Wall or the demise of international communism. It required leadership, courage and vision by a president determined to restore America’s legitimate influence. Oct. 25 is celebrated as Grenada’s Thanksgiving Day. Americans also can give thanks, for that day the Evil Empire began to retreat.

Mr. Reich has served as an assistant secretary of state, U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and special envoy for Western Hemisphere affairs.
Title: choosing unknown soldiers
Post by: ccp on October 28, 2018, 09:26:53 AM

Wonder if any thoughts about DNA testing to identify the remains. 
Title: War of 1812
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 17, 2018, 10:00:58 AM
Title: war of '12
Post by: ccp on November 17, 2018, 10:22:38 AM
some good points
over before it began and continued after the end

one minor correction Adams was not President in '09 it was Madison.

Remember Dolly
the first feminist in the WH
Title: 1861 Japanese Version of American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 17, 2018, 01:25:04 PM
Title: Re: 1861 Japanese Version of American History
Post by: G M on November 17, 2018, 01:46:26 PM

I want this to be made into a movie, with CGI and wire-fu.
Title: American History, 30 years ago: Reagan's Farewell Address to the Nation
Post by: DougMacG on January 12, 2019, 02:25:44 PM

This is worth your time (IMHO) as a reminder of those times and the lessons learned, and something to share with young people who missed that time.  The same principles apply today.

President Reagan touches on a lot of important points.  At one point he said that freedom means freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of enterprise. 

Does any school, college, newspaper or family teach that third one anymore?
Title: Robert Smalls
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 19, 2019, 10:03:49 AM

Jason Rains
February 4 at 12:28 PM

In honor of Black History Month, I'm about to blow your mind by telling you about the most badass historical figure you never learned about in school. If you have heard of him, then you probably already know who I'm about to say. If you haven't, you're not going to believe that nobody ever told you about this guy. I'm talking about Robert Smalls.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery on a South Carolina plantation. As a youth, he was permitted to go to Charleston and work, though he was forced to send most of his wages back to his master. He began taking jobs at the docks in Charleston Harbor, and later on some of the ships that came and went from the port. By the time the Civil War came around, Smalls had become an experienced seaman, so he was assigned to steer a Confederate Navy vessel called the Planter, based out of Charleston. The crew consisted of a few white officers and a number of slaves.

Smalls went to great lengths to show the Confederates that he was trustworthy and content; they never knew that he was hatching an elaborate plan to escape from slavery and deal a blow to the Confederacy, and that he had secretly recruited most of the enslaved crew in his plot. Then one night, when the Planter had docked in Charleston with a shipment of heavy guns aboard, Smalls put his plan into action. When the officers went ashore for the evening and left the ship in the care of the enslaved crew, Smalls led them in hijacking the vessel. They made one stop at another set of docks to pick up the families of Smalls and other crew members, who waited in hiding after having been notified of the scheme in advance.

They weren't in the clear yet, though, because they still had to sail past a number of Confederate checkpoints on their way to freedom. But Smalls had a plan for that, too: he had been watching the captain and learning the hand signals he used at the checkpoints. Donning the captain's uniform and trademark straw hat, he guided the Planter past five Confederate harbor forts by impersonating the captain and displaying the correct signals. By the time anyone realized the Planter had gone missing, it was too far gone to catch. He had his crew replace the Confederate flags aboard the ship with white ones, and they were intercepted by a Union vessel who saw the white flags just before they were about to fire. The Union sailors were perplexed by the sight of an all-black crew, until Robert Smalls came forward and shouted, "Good morning, sir! I've brought you some of the old United States guns, sir!" He then asked the Union sailors to give him a United States flag to raise on the Planter.

Robert Smalls' story would be amazing if it ended there, but it doesn't. After receiving a large sum of prize money for his delivery, he entered service in the Union Navy as a pilot on several vessels, including the repurposed Planter. In this role, he removed mines that he had helped lay as a slave, and participated in a number of sea battles. During one battle, the fighting grew so intense that the captain of the Planter hid in the interior of the ship and ordered the crew to surrender. Fearing that the black crewmen would be enslaved or killed if captured, Smalls refused to surrender; instead, he took command of the ship and navigated the Planter through the Confederate onslaught to safety. Because of his bravery, Smalls was promoted to captain himself, becoming one of the highest ranking and highest paid black officers in the Civil War.

Smalls leveraged his resulting fame into social activism, throwing his support into an initiative to educate former slaves, and becoming literate himself (in most Confederate states, it was illegal to teach a black person to read). While riding a streetcar in Philadelphia, he was ordered to give up his seat to a white passenger; Smalls left the car, rather than suffer the indignity of being forced to ride on the overflow platform. When word got out that a decorated hero of the Civil War had been humiliated thusly, it prompted a backlash that led to the integration of public transportation in Pennsylvania.

But Robert Smalls STILL wasn't finished. He entered politics, serving in the South Carolina legislature before becoming one of the first black people elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1874. And he remained active in public life into the 20th century; in 1913, he prevented the lynching of two black men accused of murder in his town by warning the mayor that the local black population would burn the city to the ground if the mob was not stopped.

And the plantation where Smalls had grown up a slave? He purchased it after the war, and lived there until his death in 1915. The monument at his grave is inscribed with this quote: "My race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life."

And that is the story of the great American hero Robert Smalls, known by too few people today. I hope this post inspires some folks to learn more about his impressive life.
Title: Eugene Bullard
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 19, 2019, 02:40:16 PM

Do you know who this is a photo of? Chances are you don’t, but don’t feel bad because probably not one American in one million does, and that is a National tragedy. His name is Eugene Jacques Bullard, and he is the first African-American fighter pilot in history. But he is also much more then that: He’s also a national hero, and his story is so incredible that I bet if you wrote a movie script based on it Hollywood would reject it as being too far-fetched.

Bullard was an expat living in France, and when World War 1 broke out he joined the French Infantry. He was seriously wounded, and France awarded him the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. In 1916 he joined the French air service and he first trained as a gunner but later he trained as a pilot. When American pilots volunteered to help France and formed the famous Lafayette Escadrille, he asked to join but by the time he became a qualified pilot they were no longer accepting new recruits, so he joined the Lafayette Flying Corps instead. He served with French flying units and he completed 20 combat missions.

When the United States finally joined the war, Bullard was the only member of the Escadrille or the French Flying Corps who was NOT invited to join the US Air Service. The reason? At that time the Air Service only accepted white men.

Now here is the part that almost sounds like a sequel to ‘Casablanca’: After WWI Bullard became a jazz musician in Paris and he eventually owned a nightclub called ‘L’Escadrille’. When the Germans invaded France and conquered it in WW2, his Club, and Bullard, became hugely popular with German officers, but what they DIDN’T know was that Bullard, who spoke fluent German, was actually working for the Free French as a spy. He eventually joined a French infantry unit, but he was badly wounded and had to leave the service.

By the end of the war, Bullard had become a national hero in France, but he later moved back to the U.S. where he was of course completely unknown. Practically no one in the United States was aware of it when, in 1959, the French government named him a national Chevalier, or Knight.

In 1960, the President of France, Charles DeGaulle, paid a state visit to the United States and when he arrived he said that one of the first things he wanted to do was to meet Bullard. That sent the White House staff scrambling because most of them, of course, had never even heard of him. They finally located him in New York City, and DeGaulle traveled there to meet him personally. At the time, Eugene Bullard was working as … An elevator operator.

Not long after Eugene Bullard met with the President of France, he passed away, and today very, very few Americans, and especially African-Americans, even know who he is. But, now YOU do, don’t you? And I hope you’ll be able to find opportunities to tell other people about this great American hero that probably only 1 American in 1 Million has ever heard of.
Title: American History, Presidential Morality Before Trump, VDH
Post by: DougMacG on March 11, 2019, 09:48:27 AM
Democratic presidents behaved a lot worse than Trump in the White House
By Victor Davis Hanson March 9, 2019
Democratic presidents behaved a lot worse than Trump in the White House
It's more likely history will judge President Trump for accomplishments in office than for character flaws.

Trump wanted Hall of Presidents figure to say Americans invented skyscrapers
How history will judge Trump and other commentary
History suggests Trump can fire Mueller without paying a price
Oral sex, masturbation and other lurid details of President Harding's dirty letters
Progressives claim President Trump marks a new low in American political and presidential history, personifying a singularly odious message.

But if we examine the present pantheon of progressive icons, and strip away their reliance on liberal-media protection and transfer them instead into the present age of tabloid promiscuity and cyber omnipresence, would we now have a very different view of their presidencies?

The progressive Woodrow Wilson administration likely would never have completed its two elected terms had it operated on media protocols common just a half-century later.

For nearly a year during the failing health and death of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson, the president fell into a state of debilitating depression, carefully hidden from the press. Much later, during the last 17 months of Wilson’s presidency, he was more or less unable to fulfill his duties due to a series of strokes that left him partially paralyzed and visually impaired. Those realities were carefully hidden from the public by the efforts of his second wife, Edith Bolling Wilson, and physician Dr. Cary Grayson.

In the present case, we know that Trump is neither comatose nor is Melania running the country.

The country never learned the full extent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s paralysis. Much less did it know of FDR’s past and ongoing affairs — the mechanics of which were sometimes carried out in the White House and with the skillful aid of his own daughter Anna. By fall 1944, Roosevelt, seeking a fourth term, was suffering from a series of life-threatening conditions. Worrying that the public would not vote yet again for a terminally ill president, sympathetic journalists and military physicians covered up Roosevelt’s illnesses — on the theory that FDR would survive long enough to get elected to a fourth term and ensure a continued Democratic administration.

Clearly, in our age of the internet and social media and an inquisitorial media, Ivanka Trump could not have been helping her father conduct a stealth affair in the White House while conspiring to hide his likely terminal illness from the public.

John F. Kennedy, by contemporary standards, was a serial sexual harasser, if not a likely assaulter. While physically in the White House he carried on sexual trysts with subordinates and others without security clearances, mostly with the full knowledge of the complacent White House press corps. One former JFK intern, Mimi Alford, later wrote a memoir describing losing her virginity at 19 years of age to the president in the White House presidential bed. On his direction and in his audience, she was leveraged into performing oral intercourse in the White House swimming pool on his aide David Powers, who routinely set up the president’s extramarital trysts.

For all his alleged goatishness, Trump is currently not orchestrating group sexual encounters in the White House basement.

Lyndon Johnson was not just a serial adulterer and often corrupt, but displayed a level of crudity that would now be seen as clinical, from conducting business while defecating on the toilet to exposing his genitals to staff — apparently as some sort of Freudian proof of his own, and by extension, his nation’s, manhood. In a debate answer to a sneer from Sen. Marco Rubio, Trump seems to have referenced obliquely his private parts (“I guarantee you there’s no problem”) but never to our knowledge has he displayed them to staffers.

There is no reason to review the escapades of an impeached Bill Clinton. Despite the efforts of a sympathetic media, many of his transgressions were in part aired to the public. They ran the full gamut of a classical sexist and misogynist, from likely sexually assaulting chance acquaintances to attempting to defame and ruin the reputations of women deemed liable to disclose past liaisons.

What differentiates Trump’s womanizing from that of prior presidents, like Clinton’s, is that his escapades were prior to, not during, his presidential service.

A study published by the liberal Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy found that coverage of the Trump presidency in its first hundred days was 80 percent negative, as evidenced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, in addition to CNN, CBS, Fox News and CNBC parent NBC, as well as European news outlets the Financial Times, BBC and ARD in Germany. The same researchers found that coverage of Trump was about twice as negative as had been true of reporting on Barack Obama.

How did the media and progressive critics reconcile a supposedly historically unhinged and dangerous president with a largely successful agenda that by mid-2018 was polling positive? And how exactly had such a flawed character as Trump made impressive Cabinet appointments and restored economic vibrancy at home and deterrence abroad?

Stranger still, Trump earned vitriol often for voicing positions shared by past progressive presidents and presidential candidates: skepticism over NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreements, slapping tariffs on Chinese companies for dumping, congratulating Vladimir Putin and General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt for “election” victories and Xi Jinping on his “extraordinary elevation,” or issuing expansive executive orders as Obama had. Finally, the anti-Trump progressives and Democrats, especially those in the media, did not fully appreciate that the more they voiced loudly their antipathy to Trump, and did so in escalating fashion, the more Trump was able to manipulate them as proof of how unhinged and excitable the alternative to himself was.

The small number of Never Trump conservatives who equally despised Trump, also felt his crudity was unlike any other president’s. But unlike progressives, they faced an additional dilemma: The presidential messenger was often successfully enacting an agenda that they not only had in the past supported, but also at least privately admitted was empowered by Trump himself. Nonetheless, their complaint was that Republicans stood for character. And Trump lacked it.

But, on matters of character, did Trump’s tawdry trysts with women, often a decade before his presidency, mean that he lacked character and thus stained the conservative cause, in a way that the often promiscuous Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton had not rendered their own liberal accomplishments null and void? When reports surfaced that George H.W. Bush, in his 80s and 90s, had serially groped a few women and embarrassed them with nasty jokes, did conservatives recalibrate his administration’s record?

Past presidents were less under the media microscope, so the truth was largely hidden about the declining health of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the furious temper of Harry S. Truman, the womanizing of John F. Kennedy and the misconduct of Bill Clinton.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was a successful president in the manner that he had been an effective supreme allied commander. Yet under current Trump-era workplace protocols, Ike would likely never have been nominated, given his poorly hidden relationship with his divorced chauffeur Kay Summersby and his implausible outright denials of the affair while he held the title of supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe.

Our current media and political climate would have judged the careful Eisenhower reckless, or indeed callously immoral, in his downtime with the loquacious Summersby while battle raged just miles away from his headquarters.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were both emblematic of flyover-state, rock-solid values. They stayed married. They did not cash in while in their offices. They largely told the truth. Their administrations were mostly free of scandal. Their speech was rarely ad hominem. America certainly benefitted from their personal probity. They were, in other words, role models and ethical public servants.

But both Ford and Carter proved largely ineffective presidents. In terms of economic stagnation between 1974 and 1981, millions of lives were perhaps worse off for their tenures. Few can point to any lasting substantial achievements, apart from airline deregulation and the Arab-Israeli Camp David Accords in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. Ford’s sad “Whip Inflation Now” button campaign and Carter’s serial disasters (stagflation, the appeasement of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, the rudderless foreign policy) are not arguments that good character does not matter, only that it is not necessarily always a guarantee of good governance.

In some sense, Donald Trump was replaying the role of the unpopular tenure of loudmouth Democrat Harry Truman, the president from 1945 to 1953.

“Give ’em Hell” Harry came into office following the death of Franklin Roosevelt. He miraculously won the 1948 election against all expert opinion and polls.

Truman left office in January 1953 widely hated. Indeed, his final approval ratings (32 percent) were the lowest of any departing president except for those of Richard Nixon.

The outsider Truman had always been immersed in scandal, owing to his deep ties to the corrupt Kansas City political machine.

When the novice Vice President Truman took office after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, he knew little about the grand strategy of World War II — and nothing about the ongoing atomic-bomb project.

For the next seven-plus years, Truman shocked — and successfully led — the country.

Over the objections of many in his Cabinet, Truman ignored critics and ordered the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan to end the war. Against the advice of most of the State Department, he recognized the new state of Israel.

He offended Roosevelt holdovers by breaking with wartime ally the Soviet Union and chartering the foundations of Cold War communist containment. Many in the Pentagon opposed his racial integration of the armed forces. National-security advisors counseled against sending troops to save South Korea.

Liberals opposed fellow Democrat Truman’s creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. Truman was widely loathed for firing controversial five-star general and American hero Douglas MacArthur.

There were often widespread calls in the press for Truman to resign. Impeachment was often mentioned. Truman, in short, did things other presidents had not dared to do.

Truman occasionally swore. He had nightly drinks. He played poker with cronies. And he shocked aides and the public with his vulgarity and crass attacks on political enemies.

Truman cheaply compared 1948 presidential opponent Thomas Dewey to Hitler and attacked him as a supposed pawn of bigots and war profiteers.

Truman hyperbolically claimed a Republican victory in 1948 would threaten America’s very liberty.

In the pre-Twitter age, Truman could never keep his mouth shut: “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.”

When a reviewer for The Washington Post trashed Truman’s daughter’s concert performance, Truman threatened him with physical violence.

“It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful,” Truman wrote in a letter to critic Paul Hume.

“Someday I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes and perhaps a supporter below!”

Such outbursts were Trumpian to the core.

It took a half-century for historians to concede that the mercurial and often adolescent Truman had solid accomplishments, especially in foreign affairs — in part because Truman conveyed a sense that he did not much care for staying in Washington, a city in which he was not invested, did not like and would quickly leave at the end of his tenure.

Even Truman’s crassness eventually was appreciated as integral to his image of a “plain speaking” and “the Buck Stops Here” decisive leader.

Had Truman access to Twitter, he could have self-destructed in a flurry of ad-hominem electronic outbursts. Yet Truman proved largely successful because of what he did, and in spite of what he said.

Donald J. Trump’s presidency is too brief to yet be judged absolutely. His personal foibles are too embedded within current political and media hatred to be assessed dispassionately.

Too many assessments too quickly have been made about Trump, without much historical context and usually with too much passion.

Neither is it yet clear that Trump is a bad man or a good president, or vice versa, or neither or both.

But if the past is sometimes a guide to the present, Trump in theory certainly could become a more effective president than would have been his likely more circumspect Republican primary rivals, while perhaps demonstrating that he is far more uncouth.

The paradox again raises the question: When any one man can change the lives of 330 million, what exactly is presidential morality after all — private and personal sins, or the transgressions that affect millions of lives for the worse?

Adapted excerpt from “The Case for Trump” by Victor Davis Hanson. Copyright © 2019.
Title: GPF: Code Girls
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 12, 2019, 12:44:27 PM
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
By Liza Mundy

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States officially entered World War II. Men were shipped overseas, to Europe and the Pacific, in unimaginable numbers. The magnitude of the war movement demanded and the government, military and intelligence communities needed workers, fast. With no men to spare, women had to fill the gap. They came from the Seven Sisters and later from other women’s colleges to fill the gap. They left their jobs as school teachers. They had little if any idea what jobs they were taking. But they packed their bags and headed to the nation’s capital.

Unlike their British cousins, who were building out the vast but secretive infrastructure at Bletchley Park, the U.S. armed services were woefully unprepared for the mammoth task of intercepting, decoding and translating their enemies’ communications. In fact, following World War I, much of the U.S. cryptographic efforts had been outsourced to a few quirky individuals with a passion for codes and codebreaking. World War II quickly changed that. The U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Army hastily set up codebreaking (and codemaking) shops to track Japanese and German military strategy. By the end of the war, they would be able to do so in near-real time. But at the outset, they faced the problem of staffing. So, they recruited women – those who had shown mathematical aptitude a penchant for foreign languages, durable nerves and unshakeable determination.

“Code Girls” by Liza Mundy follows the experiences of women who worked at Virginia’s Arlington Hall and Northwest Washington’s Naval Annex during the war. They were brilliant – some almost savant-like in their abilities to crack enemy codes. Throughout the book, senior military officers were constantly breathing down their necks, reminding them of how drastic the consequences would be if they did not work fast enough. When they succeeded (the best-known example of their success is, of course, the Battle of Midway), they received no recognition. Adding to the pressure, the women had fathers, brothers, fiances, and husbands serving overseas. Sometimes, a codebreaker would receive a message confirming that her loved one’s ship had been sunk or unit had been ambushed. They were rarely afforded leave, even to attend funerals, and regularly faced mistreatment and misogyny from male peers.

Despite the pressures, the women loved the work. Many had left unfulfilling jobs to serve in the war effort, or were given the opportunity at careers they never thought possible. The women who came to Washington came from New York high society, rural Mississippi, and everywhere in between. They forged lifelong friendships across class and background. Yet some were still excluded. Black women were not allowed to serve as codebreakers. Jewish and German women were often turned down; the military was afraid their ethnic roots might negatively influence their work. Across their stories, however, what is evident is their overwhelming patriotism, their commitment to service and their intelligence.

It’s striking that any one of the “Code Girls” – and there are scores of them – would have warranted a memoir or biography of her own. And yet, as the war ended, they were discharged from their military posts or asked to resign and move on from their civilian roles. (There were some notable exceptions, such as Ann Caracristi, who went on to become the first female deputy director of the National Security Agency.) The secrecy of their work was so ingrained that they almost never discussed it with their spouses or children. Later in life, when some started dropping hints, their children sometimes did not believe them. It is a relief that Mundy was able to collect and tell some of their stories before the generation is entirely lost – and it is a shame we may lose many more stories from this cadre of exceptional women who helped America win the war.

Emma Pennisi, editor
Title: What do Killebrew, Howard, Fielder , McGuire have in common?
Post by: ccp on March 30, 2019, 06:03:13 PM
besides they are big:
Title: Re: What do Killebrew, Howard, Fielder , McGuire have in common?
Post by: DougMacG on March 31, 2019, 11:40:34 AM
besides they are big:

Thank you ccp. 94 feet high over double deck outfield seating, Maris and Mantle never hit it over.  Over the decades, only Killebrew had done it until Frank Howard matched it in 1968.

Harmon Killebrew was a real sports hero in my time.  I used to go out to Met Stadium as a kid, chart the seat locations in left field where he landed his home runs in batting practice and catch a souvenir every time before the game started. I suppose he could see the kids holding up their glove for targets.  He grew up an Idaho kid, built his strength through isometrics and off season farm work before all of today's training techniques (pre-steroids).  He was a giant (at 5'11", 213 lbs.) and is still tied for second with Hank Aaron for most seasons with 40+ home runs. 

The scout that signed him after seeing him in one pickup game later said: "He hit line drives that put the opposition in jeopardy. And I don't mean infielders, I mean outfielders.”

"Higher Consciousness Through Harder Contact" ©    )
Title: The Battle of Lexington & Concord
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 23, 2019, 04:36:30 AM
Title: Mogadishu and Black Hawk Down
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 23, 2019, 09:33:33 AM
Title: earliest photos of people smiling
Post by: ccp on May 06, 2019, 08:29:01 PM

I wonder when the phrase say "cheese" was born.
Title: The probable women who modelled the 1916 quarter
Post by: ccp on May 25, 2019, 09:00:56 AM

that year she was near topless
next year a shield was added to cover up her breast

Title: Blacks and the Dem Party
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 27, 2019, 09:38:47 PM
Title: Re: Blacks and the Dem Party
Post by: DougMacG on May 28, 2019, 05:34:16 AM

1964 was a breakthrough in terms of what the Left and media could get away with accusing of the rght. 

Since then Democrats have succeeded in identifying as the party of welfare and black leaders have steered black voters into identifying as the recipient class of welfare.

No matter if you are successful and self sufficient, if you are black and don't support the forever expansion of the welfare state, you are anti-black to them.

I see this false logic beginning to unravel in 2019

Blexit -. Back exit

Title: George Friedman on D-Day and Stalin
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 05, 2019, 07:10:24 PM
By George Friedman

D-Day and Stalin

Nearly 75 years after it was fought, D-Day remains one of the most vividly recalled battles in history. It was also one of the most decisive. There are those who will argue that the Allies would have won World War II regardless of the outcome of the Battle of Normandy. Indeed, similar arguments are made for most decisive battles. Two years ago, I wrote about the Battle of Midway, on the 75th anniversary of that campaign, and argued that a defeat there would have been disastrous to the global balance. But some readers rejected this, saying that, even if the U.S. had been defeated, it would have deployed ships into the Pacific and recovered. That might well be true, but as I will try to show, the invasion of France’s Calvados coast was a turning point in the war. Had it failed, the Allies likely would not have been able to recover.

Far From Over

The pivot was the Soviet Union. By the time the D-Day invasion was launched, the Soviet Union had been fighting the Germans for three years. Germany had conquered most of the Soviet heartland and its treatment of the occupied areas was barbaric. For the first five months of the war, it seemed likely that the Soviets would lose. Only an extraordinary effort by the Red Army, aided by supplies from the United States, allowed them to stabilize the front and return to the offensive. But when D-Day was launched, the Soviets were still over 1,000 miles from Berlin. For them, the war was far from over.


(click to enlarge)

For the British and Americans, the continued Soviet participation in the war was essential. The Soviets had tied down the bulk of the German army for years and bled it dry. Without the Soviets’ involvement in the war, an Allied invasion of France would have been impossible as Germany could have massed overwhelming force and shifted troops to Italy, blocking access from there.

But the Soviets believed that the Allies had deliberately delayed an invasion of France to allow the Germans and Soviets to weaken each other so that American and British forces could come ashore with minimal opposition and fight their way into Germany, and perhaps beyond. The Soviets had repeatedly asked for a second front in 1942 and 1943. The Allies responded with a Mediterranean campaign, first in North Africa and then in Italy. From the Soviets’ perspective, this was merely a gesture – they were fighting for their lives in Stalingrad, and the Mediterranean operations were not large enough to force the Germans to redeploy troops away from their eastern flank. And so, the basic correlation of forces between Germany and the Soviets remained as it was.

The Americans and British said they simply weren’t ready for an invasion. Stalin didn’t dispute that but argued that even a failed invasion would have forced Hitler to re-evaluate the vulnerability of his troops in the west and shift some forces there. A reduction of German forces and redirection of logistical support would have increased the likelihood of a Soviet victory and reduced the damage to Soviet forces. Stalin was left with the impression that the Western Allies wanted the Germans to do maximum damage to the Red Army and that the Americans and British were unwilling to carry out a doomed spoiling attack because they were unwilling, for political reasons, to absorb a fraction of the casualties the Soviets were absorbing.

The two sides didn’t trust each other. The British and Americans were appalled at the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, while the Soviets were angered by the Americans’ willingness to enter the war only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s declaration of war on the United States. The U.S. built up its forces slowly and deliberately, minimizing exposure to minor battles in the Pacific and major thrusts at nothing important. Stalin believed that Roosevelt wanted a weak Soviet Union to emerge and that, after the Soviets destroyed the Wehrmacht, the U.S. would seize Europe and the British Empire. He once said that Churchill was the kind of man who would pick your pocket for a kopeck but Roosevelt was the kind of man who would steal only big coins. From Stalin’s view, Churchill was governing a declining power while Roosevelt, brilliant and utterly ruthless, was in charge of the future hegemon of the world.

A Hard Pill to Swallow

There is ample evidence that Soviet and German representatives had met in Stockholm for serious talks. Hitler saw Stalin’s opening as a sign of weakness. Understanding the tension between the Soviets and the Americans and British, he didn’t believe in 1943 that they could mount an invasion. Since Stalin himself had doubts, Hitler drove a hard bargain, demanding that Germany retain the land it had already won, particularly Ukraine. The talks broke down, though contacts seem to have continued.

Had the Allies not invaded Normandy in 1944, it is reasonable to assume that Stalin, whose troops were still fighting far inside their own country, would have accepted the deal with Hitler, since he likely could not continue fighting without a western front or at the very least could not regain the territory on his own. Churchill, it should be noted, was never enthusiastic about the invasion, either because he feared the resulting losses would be the end of the British army or because he wouldn’t have minded if the German-Soviet war continued so the Allies could intervene at the last minute, while nibbling at Greece. Either way, Roosevelt rejected Churchill’s view, sensing that the Soviets would make peace without an Allied invasion.

Thus, the invasion was launched in June before the campaign season was lost. Had the Americans and British not seized the opportunity to invade at that time, or had the campaign failed, they would have had to wait until the following spring to mount an invasion. And by then, the Soviets may well have been forced to make peace, giving the Germans a far denser defense along the French coast that would almost certainly have made an invasion impossible. Alternatively, the Allies could have tried to attack Germany through Italy or the Balkans – through the Alps. But with the Soviets out of the war, the Germans would have gained a massive advantage. A German-Soviet truce would have been hard for the Soviets to swallow, but if D-Day had failed and if the Allies couldn’t mount another operation for another year, Stalin may not have had any other choice. He couldn’t win the war on his own.

The Americans would have had the atomic bomb within a year, and I don’t doubt they would have used it while the war raged. But if there was peace in the east, and little fighting in the west, would the U.S. really nuke Berlin or Munich and then try to occupy Germany? I don’t believe it would, but I could be wrong.

D-Day was the decisive battle of World War II not only because it unleashed the full strength of the Anglo-American forces but because it forced Hitler to fight on two fronts, easing the Soviets’ positions sufficiently for a confident advance. Had the invasion not taken place or had it failed, Stalin would likely have made peace with Hitler. Germany would have grown stronger, unless the U.S. and Britain wanted to wage war alone, which I don’t think they did. In the end, Hitler was right when he said Germany’s fate would be decided in France – on the Calvados coast in Normandy, to be exact.

Title: Jon Meachan
Post by: ccp on July 16, 2019, 02:49:35 PM
G H Bush biographer seems to think Trump is more racist than all previous Prezes then Andy Johnson
including Andy Jackson who he wrote biography on and Woodrow Wilson and all the others who were supposedly racist slaveholders several while in office.

So far I have not heard anything about Trump owning slaves:

but Meachum gets lots of airtime on all the lib channels:
Title: President Woodrow Wilson, bigot
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 14, 2019, 08:46:51 PM
Title: Don't tread on me
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 14, 2019, 09:10:15 PM
second post
Title: Mind your business /don't tread on me
Post by: ccp on August 15, 2019, 05:06:52 AM
CD post was the most thorough explanation of these terms.. Here is a 1776 continental dollar with "mind your own business " on it.

Easy to mistake the meaning to be meant to address government interference but it is more to suggest people to be industrious and mind their "businesses "

As a coin collector as a kid I used to see colonial era coins with these motifs on them:
Title: Re: Mind your business /don't tread on me
Post by: G M on August 15, 2019, 07:14:03 PM
CD post was the most thorough explanation of these terms.. Here is a 1776 continental dollar with "mind your own business " on it.

Easy to mistake the meaning to be meant to address government interference but it is more to suggest people to be industrious and mind their "businesses "

As a coin collector as a kid I used to see colonial era coins with these motifs on them:

Did the ones circulated in NY/NJ say "Mind your own f'ing business"?
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on August 18, 2019, 07:40:14 AM
" .Did the ones circulated in NY/NJ say "Mind your own f'ing business"?

well not written like that on the NJ or NY colonial coins
but they probably did speak like that....

the southerners probably spoke
"Ya'll mind yer own business"

Indians probably just gave the settlers the middle finger
and slaves I won't say as i would get into trouble.

Title: American History, Ben Shapiro, Beto, NYT
Post by: DougMacG on September 18, 2019, 09:19:31 AM
I noticed recently that Ben Shapiro is making an impact on young voters.
The Alternative History of the United States
.By Ben Shapiro  September 18, 2019
The Alternative History of the United States

Last week, Democrats held their first true presidential debate. With the field winnowed down to 10 candidates -- three of them actual contenders for the nomination -- only one moment truly stood out. That moment came not from Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders but from a candidate desperate for attention: Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke ran in 2018 for a Senate seat in Texas and lost in shockingly narrow fashion to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. But his persona at the time was more Biden than Bernie: He ran as a unifying quasi-moderate, an Obama-esque figure determined to bring Americans together. In the early going of the presidential race, Beto was figured to be a prime contender: An April poll showed him in a solid third place. But he's faded dramatically; now the once-media darling is polling below 3 percent.

So O'Rourke has refashioned himself into a woke warrior. He's declared that he wants to forcibly remove guns from law-abiding Americans ("Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15"), that President Trump is a "white supremacist" posing a "mortal threat to people of color" and that the time has come for race reparations. Most dramatically, O'Rourke has refashioned his vision of American history. In this debate, he laid out his retelling of the American story, saying: "Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country not at the Fourth of July, 1776, but Aug. 20, 1619, when the first kidnapped African was brought to this country against his will and in bondage, and as a slave built the greatness and the success and the wealth that neither he nor his descendants would ever be able to fully participate in and enjoy."

This version of history is cribbed from "The 1619 Project" by The New York Times, a retelling of American history as a story rooted in white supremacy -- not colored by or affected by white supremacy but rooted in it. Capitalism, criminal justice, lack of universal health care, traffic patterns, Donald Trump's election -- all of it, according to "The 1619 Project," is fundamentally based on America's legacy of slavery and racial discrimination.

That perspective on American history, in turn, is merely warmed over Howard Zinn. Zinn, the Marxist author of "A People's History of the United States," sought to recast America's story as a story of hideous ugliness covered with the hypocritical facade of goodness. Never mind that "A People's History" is, in fact, rotten history -- factually inaccurate, wildly disjoined from a more comprehensive examination of time and place, near plagiarized from the work of better leftist historians. Zinn's history has now infused the teaching of American history in high schools and colleges across the country.

But that historical retelling is at odds with the better, truer story of America: the story of a nation founded on eternally good and true principles, principles only fully realized for many Americans at the cost of blood and sweat and death. Ex-slave Frederick Douglass's take on American history remains the most honest, as well as the most visionary. While acknowledging that to the American slave, Independence Day represents "more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim," Douglass recognized that the Constitution is a "glorious liberty document," the Declaration of Independence a charter of "saving principles."

American history is our common history. O'Rourke's pathetic rewriting of American history is designed not to unify us as a nation but to divide us -- to call us away from the unifying principles that lie at the foundation of America, in favor of divisive principles of tribal partisanship. We must recognize the evils of American history -- that is part of our common story. In fact, our quest to rid ourselves of those evils is our common story. But if we wish to survive as a nation, we must also recognize that the story of America lies in the constant purification of our actions to align with our founding principles, not oppose them.
Title: WSJ: The Second Found and Equality 1866-96
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 24, 2019, 03:57:08 PM
Title: Did young George Washington kick off the French-Indian War?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 24, 2019, 03:59:27 PM
second entry
Title: The NY Manumission Society
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 25, 2019, 04:38:24 PM
Title: Black woman inventor of GPS honored
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 29, 2019, 09:00:54 AM
Title: Bear River Massacre
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 29, 2019, 01:38:59 PM
Title: New Yorker: When America tried to deport its radicals
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 06, 2019, 10:43:55 AM
Well, its the New Yorker , , ,
Title: America's First President, John Hanson
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 08, 2019, 08:40:56 AM
The John Hanson Story
John Hanson, First President in Congress Assembled
John Hanson
When we think of the President of the United States, many people do not realize that we are actually referring to presidents elected under the U.S. Constitution. Everybody knows that the first president in that sense was George Washington. But in fact the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution, also called for a president- albeit one with greatly diminished powers. Eight men were appointed to serve one year terms as president under the Articles of Confederation. In November 1781, John Hanson became the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled, under the Articles of Confederation.

Many people have argued that John Hanson, and not George Washington, was the first President of the United States, but this is not quite true. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States had no executive branch. The President of Congress was a ceremonial position within the Confederation Congress. Although the office required Hanson to deal with correspondence and sign official documents, it wasn't the sort of work that any President of the United States under the Constitution would have done.

Hanson didn't really enjoy his job either, and found the work tedious and wished to resign. Unfortunately, the Articles of Confederation hadn't accounted for how succession worked and his departure would have left Congress without a President. So, because he loved his country, and out of a sense of duty, he remained in office.

Statue of John Hanson
Statue of John Hanson in the United States Capitol Building
While there, he served from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782, he was able to remove all foreign troops from American lands, as well as their flags. He also introduced the Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department. He led the flight to guarantee the statehood of the Western Territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains that had been controlled by some of the original thirteen colonies.

What's probably most interesting is that Hanson is also responsible for establishing Thanksgiving Day as the fourth Thursday in November.

It was no easy task to be the first person in this position as President of Congress. So it's incredible that Hanson was able to accomplish as much as he did. Plus, instead of the four year term that current Presidents serve, Presidents under the Articles of Confederation served only one year. So, accomplishing anything during this short time was a great feat.

Hanson played an important role in the development of United States Constitutional History, one often not stated, but true nonetheless. Often, Hanson is regarded as the "forgotten first President." In Seymour Weyss Smith's biography of him, John Hanson, Our First President, he says that the American Revolution had two primary leaders: George Washington in the military sphere, and John Hanson in politics. Although one position was ceremonial, and the other was more official, there are statues of both men in the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

Hanson died on November 15, 1783 at the age of 62.

"Thus was ended the career of one of America's greatest statesmen. While hitherto practically unknown to our people, and this is true as to nearly all the generations that have lived since his day, his great handiwork, the nation which he helped to establish, remains as a fitting tribute to his memory. It is doubtful if there has ever lived on this side of the Atlantic, a nobler character or shrewder statesman. One would search in vain to find a more powerful personage, or a more aggressive leader, in the annals of American history. and it is extremely doubtful if there has ever lived in an age since the advent of civilization, a man with a keener grasp of, or a deeper insight into, such democratic ideals as are essential to the promotion of personal liberty and the extension of human happiness. ... He was firm in his opinion that the people of America were capable of ruling themselves without the aid of a king."

Title: Background on "Tear down this wall" speech
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 10, 2019, 08:49:02 AM
Title: Re: Background on "Tear down this wall" speech
Post by: DougMacG on November 11, 2019, 08:08:03 AM

The greatest moments in American history were opposed by state department staffers.
Title: American History, Great Society, Amity Shlaes, Powerline Podcast
Post by: DougMacG on November 23, 2019, 09:02:51 AM

[Should also go under books.]
Title: The Massachusetts Body of Liberties
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 26, 2019, 06:01:00 PM
Title: The 1619 Calumny
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 09, 2019, 11:35:31 AM
Title: San Francisco just 4 days prior to the big one 1906
Post by: ccp on December 17, 2019, 07:10:35 PM
No pedestrian walks no traffic lights both horse drawn and horseless carriages
and a very dramatic ending:
Title: The Kentucky Militia in the War of 1812
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 18, 2019, 11:16:26 AM
Title: The 1619 Project takes heavy incoming fire
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 23, 2019, 06:41:17 AM

Title: GW's mom
Post by: ccp on December 26, 2019, 09:18:20 AM
a lot lost to the winds of time but some blurry picture emerges:
Title: Morris: How Dean Acheson caused Pearl Harbor and the Korean War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 26, 2019, 01:27:48 PM
Title: 1619 Project- history without Truth
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 03, 2020, 12:30:48 AM
Title: Wilson's Palmer Raids
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 04, 2020, 07:09:06 AM
Title: Re: Wilson's Palmer Raids
Post by: DougMacG on January 04, 2020, 08:21:12 AM

"Ironically, none of those arrested had done anywhere near as much harm to those values as the man living in the White House—Woodrow Wilson, arguably the worst of the country’s 45 presidents."

   - My dad said that his dad voted for Woodrow Wilson and regretted it,  making it 100 years since anyone in our family voted Democrat, possible unknownn of my daughter's secret ballot.

Strange you would think to the Left that these egregious acts against rights came from Left icons WW, FDR, B.O., not Reagan, Bush, Trump.
Title: GPF: The French and Indian Wars
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 08, 2020, 06:36:04 AM
Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution
David L. Preston

Gen. Edward Braddock was a British commander in what was called the French and Indian War, a subset of the Seven Years’ War, which pitted England and France against each other and then drew in the rest of Europe. In the United States the war was between the French, who wanted to drive the English out of North America, and the English, who wanted to do the same to the French by driving them and their Indian allies west, cross the Appalachians and cease the French holding in the Louisiana Territory. The war was fought between 1754 and 1763, roughly paralleling the Seven Years’ War (1756-63).

The most important outcome of the French and Indian War was not the result itself but its creation of the American people. Until then, the colonists in North America regarded themselves as English. In the south in particular, the settlers had sought to create an English life and social order. George Washington’s grandfather was a failed English gentleman, trapped in the religious wars that had raged there. He came to North America to start a new life, acquiring a great deal of land on the fertile soil of Virginia. His life, like those of his son and grandson, was focused on the land and agriculture. They made up for their lack of serfs with African slaves, and with those slaves his family lived the life of the English gentry. That is how they saw themselves and who they were.

When the war broke out, George Washington, the United States’ first president, was given a commission in the king’s army under Braddock. Washington discovered that Braddock did not know how to fight a war in the Appalachians, the battlefield of the war. Braddock was an Englishman, and the wars he was accustomed to fighting had been on the plains of Northern Europe. There, wars were won by disciplined armies, marching and firing in sequence in orderly formation. Anyone who has ever visited the Appalachians knows that larger formations marching together is impossible. The problem is not the mountains as much as the impassable vegetation. Wars in the Appalachians are fought one man at a time, moving through the trees and thick brush.

Braddock was appalled by this disorder and demanded that his commanders, including Washington, fight the English way, an impossibility. Washington’s generation discovered the contempt that Braddock and the English commanders felt for the colonists. Washington might think of himself as a gentleman, and other colonists might see him that way, but to the English, they were all near-barbarians. Braddock, despite losing battle after battle, remained rigid in his views, and the colonists emerged from the war stung by English contempt and incompetence.
The French and Indian War forced the colonists to face the fact that the English didn’t see them as English gentlemen. To the English, they were something else. It was at this moment that the idea emerged of the English colonists as a separate people. This is when Americans found who they were. The colonists’ later animosity toward England arose out of the contempt for them shown by Braddock and his officers and those officers’ inability to grasp the American battlefield. Braddock’s defeat at Monongahela capped this.

There were no Americans in 1754. There were many in 1763. And by 1776, they had declared themselves separate and independent from England and were at war with the English. Had the French and Indian War not been fought in the Appalachians, and had Braddock been able to grasp a new way of war, there might not have been Americans. But of course, that was where the war had to be waged, and an English general would not understand that. But it is important to know this war, because that is where this nation was forged.
Title: A young Patton in Mexico
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 13, 2020, 01:13:20 PM
Title: KY militia honored in MI
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 20, 2020, 05:18:59 AM
Title: 1619 history? Nevermind , , ,
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 14, 2020, 09:04:01 AM
Title: Re: 1619 history? Nevermind , , ,
Post by: DougMacG on March 14, 2020, 10:55:23 AM

Everyone except their readers already knew that.  What N Taleb calls iyi, intellectual yet ignorant?
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on March 14, 2020, 11:02:22 AM
". Seven months later, 1619 Project leader admits she got it wrong"

DID NYT report the hoax?
Title: Radical psuedo historian meets his match
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 16, 2020, 08:07:50 PM
Title: Re: Radical psuedo historian meets his match
Post by: DougMacG on April 17, 2020, 09:35:38 AM

Great post.  It would be nice if America's educators read it.
Title: American History, NYT Phony 1619 Project wins discredited Pulitzer Prize
Post by: DougMacG on May 05, 2020, 05:49:56 PM
The only Pulitzer the 1619 Project deserved was for fiction
By Post Editorial Board, May 4, 2020
Leslie M. Harris, a black history prof at Northwestern, says she warned Hannah-Jones: “Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies.”

Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written.
[Yes, that's the nation-hating, award-winning title.]
Black Americans have fought to make them true.
By Nikole Hannah-Jones
AUG. 14, 2019

My dad always flew an American flag in our front yard. The blue paint on our two-story house was perennially chipping; the fence, or the rail by the stairs, or the front door, existed in a perpetual state of disrepair, but that flag always flew pristine. Our corner lot, which had been redlined by the federal government, was along the river that divided the black side from the white side of our Iowa town. At the edge of our lawn, high on an aluminum pole, soared the flag, which my dad would replace as soon as it showed the slightest tatter.

My dad was born into a family of sharecroppers on a white plantation in Greenwood, Miss., where black people bent over cotton from can’t-see-in-the-morning to can’t-see-at-night, just as their enslaved ancestors had done not long before. The Mississippi of my dad’s youth was an apartheid state that subjugated its near-majority black population through breathtaking acts of violence. White residents in Mississippi lynched more black people than those in any other state in the country, and the white people in my dad’s home county lynched more black residents than those in any other county in Mississippi, often for such “crimes” as entering a room occupied by white women, bumping into a white girl or trying to start a sharecroppers union. My dad’s mother, like all the black people in Greenwood, could not vote, use the public library or find work other than toiling in the cotton fields or toiling in white people’s houses. So in the 1940s, she packed up her few belongings and her three small children and joined the flood of black Southerners fleeing North. She got off the Illinois Central Railroad in Waterloo, Iowa, only to have her hopes of the mythical Promised Land shattered when she learned that Jim Crow did not end at the Mason-Dixon line.

Grandmama, as we called her, found a house in a segregated black neighborhood on the city’s east side and then found the work that was considered black women’s work no matter where black women lived — cleaning white people’s houses. Dad, too, struggled to find promise in this land. In 1962, at age 17, he signed up for the Army. Like many young men, he joined in hopes of escaping poverty. But he went into the military for another reason as well, a reason common to black men: Dad hoped that if he served his country, his country might finally treat him as an American.

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. Read all the stories.
The Army did not end up being his way out. He was passed over for opportunities, his ambition stunted. He would be discharged under murky circumstances and then labor in a series of service jobs for the rest of his life. Like all the black men and women in my family, he believed in hard work, but like all the black men and women in my family, no matter how hard he worked, he never got ahead.

So when I was young, that flag outside our home never made sense to me. How could this black man, having seen firsthand the way his country abused black Americans, how it refused to treat us as full citizens, proudly fly its banner? I didn’t understand his patriotism. It deeply embarrassed me.

I had been taught, in school, through cultural osmosis, that the flag wasn’t really ours, that our history as a people began with enslavement and that we had contributed little to this great nation. It seemed that the closest thing black Americans could have to cultural pride was to be found in our vague connection to Africa, a place we had never been. That my dad felt so much honor in being an American felt like a marker of his degradation, his acceptance of our subordination.

Like most young people, I thought I understood so much, when in fact I understood so little. My father knew exactly what he was doing when he raised that flag. He knew that our people’s contributions to building the richest and most powerful nation in the world were indelible, that the United States simply would not exist without us.

In August 1619, just 12 years after the English settled Jamestown, Va., one year before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock and some 157 years before the English colonists even decided they wanted to form their own country, the Jamestown colonists bought 20 to 30 enslaved Africans from English pirates. The pirates had stolen them from a Portuguese slave ship that had forcibly taken them from what is now the country of Angola. Those men and women who came ashore on that August day were the beginning of American slavery. They were among the 12.5 million Africans who would be kidnapped from their homes and brought in chains across the Atlantic Ocean in the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War. Almost two million did not survive the grueling journey, known as the Middle Passage.

Before the abolishment of the international slave trade, 400,000 enslaved Africans would be sold into America. Those individuals and their descendants transformed the lands to which they’d been brought into some of the most successful colonies in the British Empire. Through backbreaking labor, they cleared the land across the Southeast. They taught the colonists to grow rice. They grew and picked the cotton that at the height of slavery was the nation’s most valuable commodity, accounting for half of all American exports and 66 percent of the world’s supply. They built the plantations of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, sprawling properties that today attract thousands of visitors from across the globe captivated by the history of the world’s greatest democracy. They laid the foundations of the White House and the Capitol, even placing with their unfree hands the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome. They lugged the heavy wooden tracks of the railroads that crisscrossed the South and that helped take the cotton they picked to the Northern textile mills, fueling the Industrial Revolution. They built vast fortunes for white people North and South — at one time, the second-richest man in the nation was a Rhode Island “slave trader.” Profits from black people’s stolen labor helped the young nation pay off its war debts and financed some of our most prestigious universities. It was the relentless buying, selling, insuring and financing of their bodies and the products of their labor that made Wall Street a thriving banking, insurance and trading sector and New York City the financial capital of the world.

But it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.

A demonstrator at the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to fight for black suffrage. Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos
The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” did not apply to fully one-fifth of the country. Yet despite being violently denied the freedom and justice promised to all, black Americans believed fervently in the American creed. Through centuries of black resistance and protest, we have helped the country live up to its founding ideals. And not only for ourselves — black rights struggles paved the way for every other rights struggle, including women’s and gay rights, immigrant and disability rights.

Without the idealistic, strenuous and patriotic efforts of black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different — it might not be a democracy at all.

The very first person to die for this country in the American Revolution was a black man who himself was not free. Crispus Attucks was a fugitive from slavery, yet he gave his life for a new nation in which his own people would not enjoy the liberties laid out in the Declaration for another century. In every war this nation has waged since that first one, black Americans have fought — today we are the most likely of all racial groups to serve in the United States military.

My father, one of those many black Americans who answered the call, knew what it would take me years to understand: that the year 1619 is as important to the American story as 1776. That black Americans, as much as those men cast in alabaster in the nation’s capital, are this nation’s true “founding fathers.” And that no people has a greater claim to that flag than us.

In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson sat at his portable writing desk in a rented room in Philadelphia and penned these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For the last 243 years, this fierce assertion of the fundamental and natural rights of humankind to freedom and self-governance has defined our global reputation as a land of liberty. As Jefferson composed his inspiring words, however, a teenage boy who would enjoy none of those rights and liberties waited nearby to serve at his master’s beck and call. His name was Robert Hemings, and he was the half brother of Jefferson’s wife, born to Martha Jefferson’s father and a woman he owned. It was common for white enslavers to keep their half-black children in slavery. Jefferson had chosen Hemings, from among about 130 enslaved people that worked on the forced-labor camp he called Monticello, to accompany him to Philadelphia and ensure his every comfort as he drafted the text making the case for a new democratic republic based on the individual rights of men.

At the time, one-fifth of the population within the 13 colonies struggled under a brutal system of slavery unlike anything that had existed in the world before. Chattel slavery was not conditional but racial. It was heritable and permanent, not temporary, meaning generations of black people were born into it and passed their enslaved status onto their children. Enslaved people were not recognized as human beings but as property that could be mortgaged, traded, bought, sold, used as collateral, given as a gift and disposed of violently. Jefferson’s fellow white colonists knew that black people were human beings, but they created a network of laws and customs, astounding for both their precision and cruelty, that ensured that enslaved people would never be treated as such. As the abolitionist William Goodell wrote in 1853, “If any thing founded on falsehood might be called a science, we might add the system of American slavery to the list of the strict sciences.”

[Listen to a new podcast with Nikole Hannah-Jones that tells the story of slavery and its legacy like you’ve never heard it before.]

Enslaved people could not legally marry. They were barred from learning to read and restricted from meeting privately in groups. They had no claim to their own children, who could be bought, sold and traded away from them on auction blocks alongside furniture and cattle or behind storefronts that advertised “Negroes for Sale.” Enslavers and the courts did not honor kinship ties to mothers, siblings, cousins. In most courts, they had no legal standing. Enslavers could rape or murder their property without legal consequence. Enslaved people could own nothing, will nothing and inherit nothing. They were legally tortured, including by those working for Jefferson himself. They could be worked to death, and often were, in order to produce the highest profits for the white people who owned them.

Yet in making the argument against Britain’s tyranny, one of the colonists’ favorite rhetorical devices was to claim that they were the slaves — to Britain. For this duplicity, they faced burning criticism both at home and abroad. As Samuel Johnson, an English writer and Tory opposed to American independence, quipped, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?”

Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In London, there were growing calls to abolish the slave trade. This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South. The wealth and prominence that allowed Jefferson, at just 33, and the other founding fathers to believe they could successfully break off from one of the mightiest empires in the world came from the dizzying profits generated by chattel slavery. In other words, we may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. It is not incidental that 10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers, and some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy.

Jefferson and the other founders were keenly aware of this hypocrisy. And so in Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence, he tried to argue that it wasn’t the colonists’ fault. Instead, he blamed the king of England for forcing the institution of slavery on the unwilling colonists and called the trafficking in human beings a crime. Yet neither Jefferson nor most of the founders intended to abolish slavery, and in the end, they struck the passage.

There is no mention of slavery in the final Declaration of Independence. Similarly, 11 years later, when it came time to draft the Constitution, the framers carefully constructed a document that preserved and protected slavery without ever using the word. In the texts in which they were making the case for freedom to the world, they did not want to explicitly enshrine their hypocrisy, so they sought to hide it. The Constitution contains 84 clauses. Six deal directly with the enslaved and their enslavement, as the historian David Waldstreicher has written, and five more hold implications for slavery. The Constitution protected the “property” of those who enslaved black people, prohibited the federal government from intervening to end the importation of enslaved Africans for a term of 20 years, allowed Congress to mobilize the militia to put down insurrections by the enslaved and forced states that had outlawed slavery to turn over enslaved people who had run away seeking refuge. Like many others, the writer and abolitionist Samuel Bryan called out the deceit, saying of the Constitution, “The words are dark and ambiguous; such as no plain man of common sense would have used, [and] are evidently chosen to conceal from Europe, that in this enlightened country, the practice of slavery has its advocates among men in the highest stations.”

With independence, the founding fathers could no longer blame slavery on Britain. The sin became this nation’s own, and so, too, the need to cleanse it. The shameful paradox of continuing chattel slavery in a nation founded on individual freedom, scholars today assert, led to a hardening of the racial caste system. This ideology, reinforced not just by laws but by racist science and literature, maintained that black people were subhuman, a belief that allowed white Americans to live with their betrayal. By the early 1800s, according to the legal historians Leland B. Ware, Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. Diamond, white Americans, whether they engaged in slavery or not, “had a considerable psychological as well as economic investment in the doctrine of black inferiority.” While liberty was the inalienable right of the people who would be considered white, enslavement and subjugation became the natural station of people who had any discernible drop of “black” blood.

The Supreme Court enshrined this thinking in the law in its 1857 Dred Scott decision, ruling that black people, whether enslaved or free, came from a “slave” race. This made them inferior to white people and, therefore, incompatible with American democracy. Democracy was for citizens, and the “Negro race,” the court ruled, was “a separate class of persons,” which the founders had “not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government” and had “no rights which a white man was bound to respect.” This belief, that black people were not merely enslaved but were a slave race, became the root of the endemic racism that we still cannot purge from this nation to this day. If black people could not ever be citizens, if they were a caste apart from all other humans, then they did not require the rights bestowed by the Constitution, and the “we” in the “We the People” was not a lie.

On Aug. 14, 1862, a mere five years after the nation’s highest courts declared that no black person could be an American citizen, President Abraham Lincoln called a group of five esteemed free black men to the White House for a meeting. It was one of the few times that black people had ever been invited to the White House as guests. The Civil War had been raging for more than a year, and black abolitionists, who had been increasingly pressuring Lincoln to end slavery, must have felt a sense of great anticipation and pride.

The war was not going well for Lincoln. Britain was contemplating whether to intervene on the Confederacy’s behalf, and Lincoln, unable to draw enough new white volunteers for the war, was forced to reconsider his opposition to allowing black Americans to fight for their own liberation. The president was weighing a proclamation that threatened to emancipate all enslaved people in the states that had seceded from the Union if the states did not end the rebellion. The proclamation would also allow the formerly enslaved to join the Union army and fight against their former “masters.” But Lincoln worried about what the consequences of this radical step would be. Like many white Americans, he opposed slavery as a cruel system at odds with American ideals, but he also opposed black equality. He believed that free black people were a “troublesome presence” incompatible with a democracy intended only for white people. “Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals?” he had said four years earlier. “My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not.”

That August day, as the men arrived at the White House, they were greeted by the towering Lincoln and a man named James Mitchell, who eight days before had been given the title of a newly created position called the commissioner of emigration. This was to be his first assignment. After exchanging a few niceties, Lincoln got right to it. He informed his guests that he had gotten Congress to appropriate funds to ship black people, once freed, to another country.

An 1872 portrait of African-Americans serving in Congress (from left): Hiram Revels, the first black man elected to the Senate; Benjamin S. Turner; Robert C. De Large; Josiah T. Walls; Jefferson H. Long; Joseph H. Rainy; and R. Brown Elliot. Currier & Ives, via the Library of Congress
“Why should they leave this country? This is, perhaps, the first question for proper consideration,” Lincoln told them. “You and we are different races. ... Your race suffer very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side.”

You can imagine the heavy silence in that room, as the weight of what the president said momentarily stole the breath of these five black men. It was 243 years to the month since the first of their ancestors had arrived on these shores, before Lincoln’s family, long before most of the white people insisting that this was not their country. The Union had not entered the war to end slavery but to keep the South from splitting off, yet black men had signed up to fight. Enslaved people were fleeing their forced-labor camps, which we like to call plantations, trying to join the effort, serving as spies, sabotaging confederates, taking up arms for his cause as well as their own. And now Lincoln was blaming them for the war. “Although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or the other ... without the institution of slavery and the colored race as a basis, the war could not have an existence,” the president told them. “It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.”

As Lincoln closed the remarks, Edward Thomas, the delegation’s chairman, informed the president, perhaps curtly, that they would consult on his proposition. “Take your full time,” Lincoln said. “No hurry at all.”

Nearly three years after that White House meeting, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. By summer, the Civil War was over, and four million black Americans were suddenly free. Contrary to Lincoln’s view, most were not inclined to leave, agreeing with the sentiment of a resolution against black colonization put forward at a convention of black leaders in New York some decades before: “This is our home, and this our country. Beneath its sod lie the bones of our fathers. ... Here we were born, and here we will die.”

That the formerly enslaved did not take up Lincoln’s offer to abandon these lands is an astounding testament to their belief in this nation’s founding ideals. As W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, “Few men ever worshiped Freedom with half such unquestioning faith as did the American Negro for two centuries.” Black Americans had long called for universal equality and believed, as the abolitionist Martin Delany said, “that God has made of one blood all the nations that dwell on the face of the earth.” Liberated by war, then, they did not seek vengeance on their oppressors as Lincoln and so many other white Americans feared. They did the opposite. During this nation’s brief period of Reconstruction, from 1865 to 1877, formerly enslaved people zealously engaged with the democratic process. With federal troops tempering widespread white violence, black Southerners started branches of the Equal Rights League — one of the nation’s first human rights organizations — to fight discrimination and organize voters; they headed in droves to the polls, where they placed other formerly enslaved people into seats that their enslavers had once held. The South, for the first time in the history of this country, began to resemble a democracy, with black Americans elected to local, state and federal offices. Some 16 black men served in Congress — including Hiram Revels of Mississippi, who became the first black man elected to the Senate. (Demonstrating just how brief this period would be, Revels, along with Blanche Bruce, would go from being the first black man elected to the last for nearly a hundred years, until Edward Brooke of Massachusetts took office in 1967.) More than 600 black men served in Southern state legislatures and hundreds more in local positions.

These black officials joined with white Republicans, some of whom came down from the North, to write the most egalitarian state constitutions the South had ever seen. They helped pass more equitable tax legislation and laws that prohibited discrimination in public transportation, accommodation and housing. Perhaps their biggest achievement was the establishment of that most democratic of American institutions: the public school. Public education effectively did not exist in the South before Reconstruction. The white elite sent their children to private schools, while poor white children went without an education. But newly freed black people, who had been prohibited from learning to read and write during slavery, were desperate for an education. So black legislators successfully pushed for a universal, state-funded system of schools — not just for their own children but for white children, too. Black legislators also helped pass the first compulsory education laws in the region. Southern children, black and white, were now required to attend schools like their Northern counterparts. Just five years into Reconstruction, every Southern state had enshrined the right to a public education for all children into its constitution. In some states, like Louisiana and South Carolina, small numbers of black and white children, briefly, attended schools together.

Led by black activists and a Republican Party pushed left by the blatant recalcitrance of white Southerners, the years directly after slavery saw the greatest expansion of human and civil rights this nation would ever see. In 1865, Congress passed the 13th Amendment, making the United States one of the last nations in the Americas to outlaw slavery. The following year, black Americans, exerting their new political power, pushed white legislators to pass the Civil Rights Act, the nation’s first such law and one of the most expansive pieces of civil rights legislation Congress has ever passed. It codified black American citizenship for the first time, prohibited housing discrimination and gave all Americans the right to buy and inherit property, make and enforce contracts and seek redress from courts. In 1868, Congress ratified the 14th Amendment, ensuring citizenship to any person born in the United States. Today, thanks to this amendment, every child born here to a European, Asian, African, Latin American or Middle Eastern immigrant gains automatic citizenship. The 14th Amendment also, for the first time, constitutionally guaranteed equal protection under the law. Ever since, nearly all other marginalized groups have used the 14th Amendment in their fights for equality (including the recent successful arguments before the Supreme Court on behalf of same-sex marriage). Finally, in 1870, Congress passed the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing the most critical aspect of democracy and citizenship — the right to vote — to all men regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

For this fleeting moment known as Reconstruction, the majority in Congress seemed to embrace the idea that out of the ashes of the Civil War, we could create the multiracial democracy that black Americans envisioned even if our founding fathers did not.

But it would not last.

Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well articulated by Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity. The many gains of Reconstruction were met with fierce white resistance throughout the South, including unthinkable violence against the formerly enslaved, wide-scale voter suppression, electoral fraud and even, in some extreme cases, the overthrow of democratically elected biracial governments. Faced with this unrest, the federal government decided that black people were the cause of the problem and that for unity’s sake, it would leave the white South to its own devices. In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes, in order to secure a compromise with Southern Democrats that would grant him the presidency in a contested election, agreed to pull federal troops from the South. With the troops gone, white Southerners quickly went about eradicating the gains of Reconstruction. The systemic white suppression of black life was so severe that this period between the 1880s and the 1920 and ’30s became known as the Great Nadir, or the second slavery. Democracy would not return to the South for nearly a century.

A postcard showing the scene at the murder of Allen Brooks, an African-American laborer who was accused of attempted rape. He was dragged through the streets around the Dallas County Courthouse and lynched on March 3, 1910. Postcards of lynchings were not uncommon in the early 20th century. From the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas
White Southerners of all economic classes, on the other hand, thanks in significant part to the progressive policies and laws black people had championed, experienced substantial improvement in their lives even as they forced black people back into a quasi slavery. As Waters McIntosh, who had been enslaved in South Carolina, lamented, “It was the poor white man who was freed by the war, not the Negroes.”

Georgia pines flew past the windows of the Greyhound bus carrying Isaac Woodard home to Winnsboro, S.C. After serving four years in the Army in World War II, where Woodard had earned a battle star, he was given an honorable discharge earlier that day at Camp Gordon and was headed home to meet his wife. When the bus stopped at a small drugstore an hour outside Atlanta, Woodard got into a brief argument with the white driver after asking if he could use the restroom. About half an hour later, the driver stopped again and told Woodard to get off the bus. Crisp in his uniform, Woodard stepped from the stairs and saw the police waiting for him. Before he could speak, one of the officers struck him in his head with a billy club, beating him so badly that he fell unconscious. The blows to Woodard’s head were so severe that when he woke in a jail cell the next day, he could not see. The beating occurred just 4½ hours after his military discharge. At 26, Woodard would never see again.

There was nothing unusual about Woodard’s horrific maiming. It was part of a wave of systemic violence deployed against black Americans after Reconstruction, in both the North and the South. As the egalitarian spirit of post-Civil War America evaporated under the desire for national reunification, black Americans, simply by existing, served as a problematic reminder of this nation’s failings. White America dealt with this inconvenience by constructing a savagely enforced system of racial apartheid that excluded black people almost entirely from mainstream American life — a system so grotesque that Nazi Germany would later take inspiration from it for its own racist policies.

Isaac Woodard and his mother in South Carolina in 1946. In February that year, Woodard, a decorated Army veteran, was severely beaten by the police, leaving him blind. From Special Collections and Archives/Georgia State University Library
Despite the guarantees of equality in the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court’s landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896 declared that the racial segregation of black Americans was constitutional. With the blessing of the nation’s highest court and no federal will to vindicate black rights, starting in the late 1800s, Southern states passed a series of laws and codes meant to make slavery’s racial caste system permanent by denying black people political power, social equality and basic dignity. They passed literacy tests to keep black people from voting and created all-white primaries for elections. Black people were prohibited from serving on juries or testifying in court against a white person. South Carolina prohibited white and black textile workers from using the same doors. Oklahoma forced phone companies to segregate phone booths. Memphis had separate parking spaces for black and white drivers. Baltimore passed an ordinance outlawing black people from moving onto a block more than half white and white people from moving onto a block more than half black. Georgia made it illegal for black and white people to be buried next to one another in the same cemetery. Alabama barred black people from using public libraries that their own tax dollars were paying for. Black people were expected to jump off the sidewalk to let white people pass and call all white people by an honorific, though they received none no matter how old they were. In the North, white politicians implemented policies that segregated black people into slum neighborhoods and into inferior all-black schools, operated whites-only public pools and held white and “colored” days at the country fair, and white businesses regularly denied black people service, placing “Whites Only” signs in their windows. States like California joined Southern states in barring black people from marrying white people, while local school boards in Illinois and New Jersey mandated segregated schools for black and white children.

This caste system was maintained through wanton racial terrorism. And black veterans like Woodard, especially those with the audacity to wear their uniform, had since the Civil War been the target of a particular violence. This intensified during the two world wars because white people understood that once black men had gone abroad and experienced life outside the suffocating racial oppression of America, they were unlikely to quietly return to their subjugation at home. As Senator James K. Vardaman of Mississippi said on the Senate floor during World War I, black servicemen returning to the South would “inevitably lead to disaster.” Giving a black man “military airs” and sending him to defend the flag would bring him “to the conclusion that his political rights must be respected.”

Many white Americans saw black men in the uniforms of America’s armed services not as patriotic but as exhibiting a dangerous pride. Hundreds of black veterans were beaten, maimed, shot and lynched. We like to call those who lived during World War II the Greatest Generation, but that allows us to ignore the fact that many of this generation fought for democracy abroad while brutally suppressing democracy for millions of American citizens. During the height of racial terror in this country, black Americans were not merely killed but castrated, burned alive and dismembered with their body parts displayed in storefronts. This violence was meant to terrify and control black people, but perhaps just as important, it served as a psychological balm for white supremacy: You would not treat human beings this way. The extremity of the violence was a symptom of the psychological mechanism necessary to absolve white Americans of their country’s original sin. To answer the question of how they could prize liberty abroad while simultaneously denying liberty to an entire race back home, white Americans resorted to the same racist ideology that Jefferson and the framers had used at the nation’s founding.

This ideology — that black people belonged to an inferior, subhuman race — did not simply disappear once slavery ended. If the formerly enslaved and their descendants became educated, if we thrived in the jobs white people did, if we excelled in the sciences and arts, then the entire justification for how this nation allowed slavery would collapse. Free black people posed a danger to the country’s idea of itself as exceptional; we held up the mirror in which the nation preferred not to peer. And so the inhumanity visited on black people by every generation of white America justified the inhumanity of the past.

Just as white Americans feared, World War II ignited what became black Americans’ second sustained effort to make democracy real. As the editorial board of the black newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier wrote, “We wage a two-pronged attack against our enslavers at home and those abroad who will enslave us.” Woodard’s blinding is largely seen as one of the catalysts for the decades-long rebellion we have come to call the civil rights movement. But it is useful to pause and remember that this was the second mass movement for black civil rights, the first being Reconstruction. As the centennial of slavery’s end neared, black people were still seeking the rights they had fought for and won after the Civil War: the right to be treated equally by public institutions, which was guaranteed in 1866 with the Civil Rights Act; the right to be treated as full citizens before the law, which was guaranteed in 1868 by the 14th Amendment; and the right to vote, which was guaranteed in 1870 by the 15th Amendment. In response to black demands for these rights, white Americans strung them from trees, beat them and dumped their bodies in muddy rivers, assassinated them in their front yards, firebombed them on buses, mauled them with dogs, peeled back their skin with fire hoses and murdered their children with explosives set off inside a church.

For the most part, black Americans fought back alone. Yet we never fought only for ourselves. The bloody freedom struggles of the civil rights movement laid the foundation for every other modern rights struggle. This nation’s white founders set up a decidedly undemocratic Constitution that excluded women, Native Americans and black people, and did not provide the vote or equality for most Americans. But the laws born out of black resistance guarantee the franchise for all and ban discrimination based not just on race but on gender, nationality, religion and ability. It was the civil rights movement that led to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which upended the racist immigration quota system intended to keep this country white. Because of black Americans, black and brown immigrants from across the globe are able to come to the United States and live in a country in which legal discrimination is no longer allowed. It is a truly American irony that some Asian-Americans, among the groups able to immigrate to the United States because of the black civil rights struggle, are now suing universities to end programs designed to help the descendants of the enslaved.

No one cherishes freedom more than those who have not had it. And to this day, black Americans, more than any other group, embrace the democratic ideals of a common good. We are the most likely to support programs like universal health care and a higher minimum wage, and to oppose programs that harm the most vulnerable. For instance, black Americans suffer the most from violent crime, yet we are the most opposed to capital punishment. Our unemployment rate is nearly twice that of white Americans, yet we are still the most likely of all groups to say this nation should take in refugees.

The truth is that as much democracy as this nation has today, it has been borne on the backs of black resistance. Our founding fathers may not have actually believed in the ideals they espoused, but black people did. As one scholar, Joe R. Feagin, put it, “Enslaved African-Americans have been among the foremost freedom-fighters this country has produced.” For generations, we have believed in this country with a faith it did not deserve. Black people have seen the worst of America, yet, somehow, we still believe in its best.

They say our people were born on the water.

When it occurred, no one can say for certain. Perhaps it was in the second week, or the third, but surely by the fourth, when they had not seen their land or any land for so many days that they lost count. It was after fear had turned to despair, and despair to resignation, and resignation to an abiding understanding. The teal eternity of the Atlantic Ocean had severed them so completely from what had once been their home that it was as if nothing had ever existed before, as if everything and everyone they cherished had simply vanished from the earth. They were no longer Mbundu or Akan or Fulani. These men and women from many different nations, all shackled together in the suffocating hull of the ship, they were one people now.

Just a few months earlier, they had families, and farms, and lives and dreams. They were free. They had names, of course, but their enslavers did not bother to record them. They had been made black by those people who believed that they were white, and where they were heading, black equaled “slave,” and slavery in America required turning human beings into property by stripping them of every element that made them individuals. This process was called seasoning, in which people stolen from western and central Africa were forced, often through torture, to stop speaking their native tongues and practicing their native religions.

Edward Crawford Jr. returns a tear gas canister fired by police who were trying to disperse protesters in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press
But as the sociologist Glenn Bracey wrote, “Out of the ashes of white denigration, we gave birth to ourselves.” For as much as white people tried to pretend, black people were not chattel. And so the process of seasoning, instead of erasing identity, served an opposite purpose: In the void, we forged a new culture all our own.

Today, our very manner of speaking recalls the Creole languages that enslaved people innovated in order to communicate both with Africans speaking various dialects and the English-speaking people who enslaved them. Our style of dress, the extra flair, stems back to the desires of enslaved people — shorn of all individuality — to exert their own identity. Enslaved people would wear their hat in a jaunty manner or knot their head scarves intricately. Today’s avant-garde nature of black hairstyles and fashion displays a vibrant reflection of enslaved people’s determination to feel fully human through self-expression. The improvisational quality of black art and music comes from a culture that because of constant disruption could not cling to convention. Black naming practices, so often impugned by mainstream society, are themselves an act of resistance. Our last names belong to the white people who once owned us. That is why the insistence of many black Americans, particularly those most marginalized, to give our children names that we create, that are neither European nor from Africa, a place we have never been, is an act of self-determination. When the world listens to quintessential American music, it is our voice they hear. The sorrow songs we sang in the fields to soothe our physical pain and find hope in a freedom we did not expect to know until we died became American gospel. Amid the devastating violence and poverty of the Mississippi Delta, we birthed jazz and blues. And it was in the deeply impoverished and segregated neighborhoods where white Americans forced the descendants of the enslaved to live that teenagers too poor to buy instruments used old records to create a new music known as hip-hop.

Our speech and fashion and the drum of our music echoes Africa but is not African. Out of our unique isolation, both from our native cultures and from white America, we forged this nation’s most significant original culture. In turn, “mainstream” society has coveted our style, our slang and our song, seeking to appropriate the one truly American culture as its own. As Langston Hughes wrote in 1926, “They’ll see how beautiful I am/And be ashamed —/I, too, am America.”

For centuries, white Americans have been trying to solve the “Negro problem.” They have dedicated thousands of pages to this endeavor. It is common, still, to point to rates of black poverty, out-of-wedlock births, crime and college attendance, as if these conditions in a country built on a racial caste system are not utterly predictable. But crucially, you cannot view those statistics while ignoring another: that black people were enslaved here longer than we have been free.

Ieshia Evans being detained by law enforcement officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2016 outside the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
At 43, I am part of the first generation of black Americans in the history of the United States to be born into a society in which black people had full rights of citizenship. Black people suffered under slavery for 250 years; we have been legally “free” for just 50. Yet in that briefest of spans, despite continuing to face rampant discrimination, and despite there never having been a genuine effort to redress the wrongs of slavery and the century of racial apartheid that followed, black Americans have made astounding progress, not only for ourselves but also for all Americans.

What if America understood, finally, in this 400th year, that we have never been the problem but the solution?

When I was a child — I must have been in fifth or sixth grade — a teacher gave our class an assignment intended to celebrate the diversity of the great American melting pot. She instructed each of us to write a short report on our ancestral land and then draw that nation’s flag. As she turned to write the assignment on the board, the other black girl in class locked eyes with me. Slavery had erased any connection we had to an African country, and even if we tried to claim the whole continent, there was no “African” flag. It was hard enough being one of two black kids in the class, and this assignment would just be another reminder of the distance between the white kids and us. In the end, I walked over to the globe near my teacher’s desk, picked a random African country and claimed it as my own.

I wish, now, that I could go back to the younger me and tell her that her people’s ancestry started here, on these lands, and to boldly, proudly, draw the stars and those stripes of the American flag.

We were told once, by virtue of our bondage, that we could never be American. But it was by virtue of our bondage that we became the most American of all.

Correction August 15, 2019
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was approved on July 4, 1776, not signed by Congress on that date. The article also misspelled the surname of a Revolutionary War-era writer. He was Samuel Bryan, not Byron.

Editors’ Note March 11, 2020
A passage has been adjusted to make clear that a desire to protect slavery was among the motivations of some of the colonists who fought the Revolutionary War, not among the motivations of all of them. Read more.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is a staff writer for the magazine. A 2017 MacArthur fellow, she has won a National Magazine Award, a Peabody Award and a George Polk Award. Adam Pendleton is an artist known for conceptually rigorous and formally inventive paintings, collages, videos and installations that address history and contemporary culture.

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: DougMacG on May 06, 2020, 09:26:10 AM
"America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One"

   - The Founders abhorred democracy.

   - The Founders abhorred slavery, even the ones who owned slaves.

   - Freed blacks owned slaves.  In 1830 there were 3,775 free black people who owned 12,740 black slaves.

   - American Indians owned thousands of black slaves.

   - Brutal black-on-black slavery was common in Africa for thousands of years.

   - Most slaves brought to America from Africa were purchased from black slave owners.

   - Slavery in the US did not end because blacks didn't like it.  Slavery ended when whites said no more, and risked and lost lives and treasure to make that happen.

   - There are more slaves in the world today than the total number of blacks brought from Africa to the US as slaves.  [Perhaps a more timely topic for 'journalism.]

Title: Lexington & Concord
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 19, 2020, 09:49:30 AM
Love the picture in the heading; it speaks to me of what it must have been for those Americans in that moment to insist upon their freedom:
Title: George Friedman on D-Day and Stalin
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 09, 2020, 07:27:49 PM
    D-Day and Stalin
By: George Friedman

Editor’s Note: The following analysis was published on the anniversary of D-Day in 2019. It has been lightly edited.

Over 70 years after it was fought, D-Day remains one of the most vividly recalled battles in history. It was also one of the most decisive. There are those who will argue that the Allies would have won World War II regardless of the outcome of the Battle of Normandy. Indeed, similar arguments are made for most decisive battles. Two years ago, I wrote about the Battle of Midway, on the 75th anniversary of that campaign, and argued that a defeat there would have been disastrous to the global balance.

But some readers rejected this, saying that, even if the U.S. had been defeated, it would have deployed ships into the Pacific and recovered. That might well be true, but as I will try to show, the invasion of France’s Calvados coast was a turning point in the war. Had it failed, the Allies likely would not have been able to recover.

Far From Over

The pivot was the Soviet Union. By the time the D-Day invasion was launched, the Soviet Union had been fighting the Germans for three years. Germany had conquered most of the Soviet heartland and its treatment of the occupied areas was barbaric. For the first five months of the war, it seemed likely that the Soviets would lose. Only an extraordinary effort by the Red Army, aided by supplies from the United States, allowed them to stabilize the front and return to the offensive. But when D-Day was launched, the Soviets were still over 1,000 miles from Berlin. For them, the war was far from over.

The Soviets distrusted the Anglo-Americans. They didn’t launch their promised offensive, code named Bagration, until a few
weeks after D-Day. Bagration took them into Poland, but as they said at the time, and later documents showed, without an attack from the West, they would stop on the Vistula River. The front grew narrower the farther west they went. They had demanded a second front for years and with good reason. The Germans were still strong and massed against the Soviets, formidable even this late in the war.

 (click to enlarge)

For the British and Americans, the continued Soviet participation in the war was essential. The Soviets had tied down the bulk of the German army for years and bled it dry. Without the Soviets’ involvement in the war, an Allied invasion of France would have been impossible as Germany could have massed overwhelming force and shifted troops to Italy, blocking access from there.

But the Soviets believed that the Allies had deliberately delayed an invasion of France to allow the Germans and Soviets to weaken each other so that American and British forces could come ashore with minimal opposition and fight their way into Germany, and perhaps beyond. The Soviets had repeatedly asked for a second front in 1942 and 1943. The Allies responded with a Mediterranean campaign, first in North Africa and then in Italy. From the Soviets’ perspective, this was merely a gesture – they were fighting for their lives in Stalingrad, and the Mediterranean operations were not large enough to force the Germans to redeploy troops away from their eastern flank. And so, the basic correlation of forces between Germany and the Soviets remained as it was.

The Americans and British said they simply weren’t ready for an invasion. Stalin didn’t dispute that but argued that even a failed invasion would have forced Hitler to re-evaluate the vulnerability of his troops in the west and shift some forces there. A reduction of German forces and redirection of logistical support would have increased the likelihood of a Soviet victory and reduced the damage to Soviet forces. Stalin was left with the impression that the Western Allies wanted the Germans to do maximum damage to the Red Army and that the Americans and British were unwilling to carry out a doomed spoiling attack because they were unwilling, for political reasons, to absorb a fraction of the casualties the Soviets were absorbing.

The two sides didn’t trust each other. The British and Americans were appalled at the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, while the Soviets were angered by the Americans’ willingness to enter the war only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s declaration of war on the United States. The U.S. built up its forces slowly and deliberately, minimizing exposure to minor battles in the Pacific and major thrusts at nothing important. Stalin believed that Roosevelt wanted a weak Soviet Union to emerge and that, after the Soviets destroyed the Wehrmacht, the U.S. would seize Europe and the British Empire. He once said that Churchill was the kind of man who would pick your pocket for a kopeck but Roosevelt was the kind of man who would steal only big coins. From Stalin’s view, Churchill was governing a declining power while Roosevelt, brilliant and utterly ruthless, was in charge of the future hegemon of the world.

A Hard Pill to Swallow

There is ample evidence that Soviet and German representatives had met in Stockholm for serious talks. Hitler saw Stalin’s opening as a sign of weakness. Understanding the tension between the Soviets and the Americans and British, he didn’t believe in 1943 that they could mount an invasion. Since Stalin himself had doubts, Hitler drove a hard bargain, demanding that Germany retain the land it had already won, particularly Ukraine. The talks broke down, though contacts seem to have continued.

Had the Allies not invaded Normandy in 1944, it is reasonable to assume that Stalin, whose troops were still fighting far inside their own country, would have accepted the deal with Hitler, since he likely could not continue fighting without a western front or at the very least could not regain the territory on his own. Churchill, it should be noted, was never enthusiastic about the invasion, either because he feared the resulting losses would be the end of the British army or because he wouldn’t have minded if the German-Soviet war continued so the Allies could intervene at the last minute, while nibbling at Greece. Either way, Roosevelt rejected Churchill’s view, sensing that the Soviets would make peace without an Allied invasion.

Thus, the invasion was launched in June before the campaign season was lost. Had the Americans and British not seized the opportunity to invade at that time, or had the campaign failed, they would have had to wait until the following spring to mount an invasion. And by then, the Soviets may well have been forced to make peace, giving the Germans a far denser defense along the French coast that would almost certainly have made an invasion impossible. Alternatively, the Allies could have tried to attack Germany through Italy or the Balkans – through the Alps. But with the Soviets out of the war, the Germans would have gained a massive advantage. A German-Soviet truce would have been hard for the Soviets to swallow, but if D-Day had failed and if the Allies couldn’t mount another operation for another year, Stalin may not have had any other choice. He couldn’t win the war on his own.

The Americans would have had the atomic bomb within a year, and I don’t doubt they would have used it while the war raged. But if there was peace in the east, and little fighting in the west, would the U.S. really nuke Berlin or Munich and then try to occupy Germany? I don’t believe it would, but I could be wrong.

D-Day was the decisive battle of World War II not only because it unleashed the full strength of the Anglo-American forces but because it forced Hitler to fight on two fronts, easing the Soviets’ positions sufficiently for a confident advance. Had the invasion not taken place or had it failed, Stalin would likely have made peace with Hitler. Germany would have grown stronger, unless the U.S. and Britain wanted to wage war alone, which I don’t think they did. In the end, Hitler was right when he said Germany’s fate would be decided in France – on the Calvados coast in Normandy, to be exact.   

Title: Confederate History and the American Soul
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 17, 2020, 09:00:26 PM
Title: Woodrow Wilson's racism
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 19, 2020, 12:22:04 AM
Title: Nathan Bedford Forrest
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 23, 2020, 10:34:35 AM
Title: 1958 Native Americans kick KKK ass
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 26, 2020, 04:45:00 AM
Title: The Freedman Memorial
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 29, 2020, 06:15:47 AM
Title: Powerful speech during battle of Gettysburgh
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 03, 2020, 11:53:11 AM
Title: next targets for the young commy Democrat Party mob
Post by: ccp on July 03, 2020, 03:13:49 PM,_Brunswick,_ME_IMG_1941.JPG
Title: Calvin Coolidge on the Declaration of Independence
Post by: DougMacG on July 04, 2020, 06:05:09 PM
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

—Calvin Coolidge, Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 5, 1926.
Title: Re: American History
Post by: G M on July 04, 2020, 06:43:32 PM
For the left, that's a feature, not a bug.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

—Calvin Coolidge, Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 5, 1926.
Title: Meyer Lansky kicked Nazi ass
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 05, 2020, 11:40:14 AM
Title: US Army reviewing Confederate memorial at Arlington
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 10, 2020, 07:00:21 PM
Title: Frederick Douglass oldest son fought at Ft. Wagner
Post by: ccp on July 19, 2020, 01:54:45 PM
Title: Schroedinger 1619
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 28, 2020, 10:57:39 AM
Title: Memorial to enslaved laborers at U of VA
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 04, 2020, 11:42:27 AM
Title: U of V slave memorial
Post by: ccp on August 04, 2020, 03:22:00 PM
looks like take on Vietnam Memorial

Title: President Grant on riots and agitation
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 06, 2020, 04:52:28 PM
Title: Re: American History
Post by: ccp on August 07, 2020, 04:42:43 AM
From above post :

"There is a class of thriftless, discontented adventurers, agitators and communists, who do not work themselves and go about sowing discontent among honest workingmen.  This class is always ready for trouble, and of course, as soon as there is trouble the criminal class asserts itself.  "

exactly like today  :-o

i like the word communists.  Already they were a pain in the ass in 1879. That is earlier than I realized.

Title: Wolfowitz: The Gulf War Ended Too Soon
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 13, 2020, 01:04:30 PM
The Gulf War Ended Too Soon
Bush was right not to go all the way to Baghdad, but he should have backed Shiite rebels in southern Iraq.
By Paul Wolfowitz
Aug. 12, 2020 5:53 pm ET

Thirty years ago this month, on Aug. 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The U.S. mounted an impressive response, but strategic errors at the end of the Gulf War had consequences the world still lives with today.

As Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s representative on the Deputies Committee, I had the privilege to observe President George H.W. Bush from the second row. I have nothing but admiration for Bush’s leadership in responding to an aggressive act virtually no one had anticipated. Swallowing an entire country and its oil wealth shocked the world. While it left no doubt about the danger Saddam posed, it made the challenge all the more formidable. In less than a week from a cold start, Bush put together the basic elements of a political-military strategy to force Saddam to relinquish his conquest—peacefully if possible, by force if necessary.

Bush recognized that he could do little, and nothing militarily, without Saudi support. But he also understood the dilemma at the heart of Riyadh’s thinking. For them, the one thing worse than dealing with an aggressive Saddam on their own would be to accept U.S. support only to see it waver, as Jimmy Carter did with Iran and Ronald Reagan in Lebanon.

Bush ignored advice to play down the size of the force the U.S. would have to deploy to defend Saudi oil fields. He authorized Mr. Cheney to tell them the full extent of what was needed. The Saudi ambassador swallowed hard, then said: “At least we know you’re serious.”

The president reinforced that seriousness by his spontaneous statement to reporters: “This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.” Implicitly it committed him to taking military action if all else failed. Asked where that phrase came from, Bush replied: “That’s mine. . . . That’s what I feel.”

Throughout the next seven months, Bush made repeated difficult decisions crisply after consulting with his advisers. Some involved great risks, and often the advisers didn’t all agree. By the beginning of March 1991, Saddam’s army was evicted from Kuwait with miraculously low American and coalition casualties.

But unlike his principal advisers, Bush was not “exhilarated” by the outcome. “How can I be exhilarated,” he said to reporters, “when Saddam Hussein is still in power?” That unhappiness, only briefly displayed publicly, comes through clearly in Jon Meachem’s authorized 2015 biography of Bush, who allowed the author access to his diaries.

“I don’t feel euphoria,” Bush wrote on Feb. 28, 1991, the day after the combatants announced a cease-fire. “Hitler is alive, indeed, Hitler is still in office, and that’s the problem. . . . American people elated, [but] I have no elation.” What Mr. Meachem calls “Bush’s postwar despondency” was rooted in the “failure to bring about Saddam’s fall” and some specific contributing failures.

Bush regretted the decision not to force Saddam to the surrender table at Safwan, just across the Kuwaiti border, where U.S. and Iraqi troops had a standoff after the withdrawal and cease-fire. “More substantively,” Meachem writes, “when the rebellions against Saddam began after Safwan, everything went wrong. The United States did nothing to support the insurgents, and the uprising was put down in part by Iraqi helicopters,” which Saddam’s army had been allowed to keep on the pretext that it needed them because the bridges had been destroyed, not strafe and drop mustard gas on the Shiite rebels.

Historians examining how that happened need to ask why the formal decision structure, which Bush had used masterfully until then to make critical decisions almost daily, broke down at the very end.

I still believe Bush was right not to risk American lives pursuing the retreating enemy into Iraq or all the way to Baghdad, particularly since Iraqi defenses against Iran had stiffened when on their own territory. It turned out also that several Republican Guard divisions were still intact.

But there were at least three alternative courses of action that should have been considered, separately or together, as part of a postcombat strategy: Demand that Saddam or one of his principal subordinates surrender personally; secure United Nations Security Council endorsement of the large “disengagement” zone along Iraq’s entire southern border, which our U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering had proposed; and insist that Saddam stop using at least his helicopters, if not his tanks as well, to slaughter the Shiite rebels in southern Iraq.

The helicopters were a focus of attention because Iraq had been permitted to keep them on the pretext that they were needed for transportation because of the damage done by coalition bombing. At that point, the fate of the rebellions was the single most important issue for the future of Iraq and for the reputation of the U.S. in the eyes of the Iraqi people. The president himself, personally and publicly (at a March 13 press conference in Canada), had warned Iraq to stop using helicopters against the rebels.

Moreover, Saudi leaders had urged Secretary of State James Baker, during his early March visit to Riyadh, to support the Iraqi rebels. They said, as I remember, that Saddam was still dangerous, “like a wounded snake,” and added that “we’re not afraid of the Shia of Iraq,” who are “Arabs and not Persians,” and had remained loyal to Iraq during eight years of war with Iran.

None of those alternatives would have caused the coalition to collapse—particularly with the Saudis on board—nor would they have required the U.S. to occupy Baghdad. In combination, they would have been an appropriate response to Iraq’s treacherous abuse of the permission it had obtained to fly helicopters.

Supporting the rebellions had risks of its own, but those risks should have been deliberated carefully, as so many others had been over the course of the preceding seven months. But leaders were anxious to end the war and avoid mission creep that would get the U.S. stuck in Iraq, so they weren’t. As a result, Saddam played a cat-and-mouse game that kept the U.S. stuck anyway for 12 more years and beyond.

There was time to allow the president to think things through, but it wasn’t used. The lesson: If time is on your side, don’t succumb to a self-generated sense of urgency. Take the time to examine whether there are better outcomes than simply abandoning “endless wars” in the mistaken belief that you won’t be forced back to war again.

Mr. Wolfowitz, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, served as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia (1986-89), undersecretary of defense for policy (1989-93) and deputy defense secretary (2001-05).
Title: How Civil War built Egypt's cotton industry
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 01, 2020, 04:58:17 PM
Title: Morris: How Jefferson changed when he became president
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 05, 2020, 11:52:36 AM
Title: American History, Biased Polling, 1936
Post by: DougMacG on September 07, 2020, 06:02:01 PM
The most respected poll of its time, a magazine owned by Funk and Wagnells, had Alf Landon leading in 1936 by a wide margin. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt won re-election 46 states to 2. Polling was off because pollsters relied on landlines that were not randomly or proportionately distributed through the electorate.

No one would make that mistake today, would they?
Title: America's first biracial vice president
Post by: DougMacG on November 15, 2020, 09:08:50 AM
Just so you know.

Herbert Hoover’s vice president from 1929-1933.

Charles Curtis, the son of a white father and a mother with French and Native American heritage, is not well-remembered today, but he was once one of America's most influential politicians. He became the last person elected to the vice presidency to be born in a U.S territory, and he was the first to be born west of the Mississippi. But he deserves to be remembered for more than his identity and background: He was a vocal opponent of Woodrow Wilson, a strong ally of the suffrage movement, and an early supporter of Zionism.

Curtis’s mother, Ellen Pappan, was of Osage, Kansa, Pottawatomie, and French heritage. He was the great-great-grandson of White Plume, a Kansa chief who had negotiated with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804. His first language was not English, but Kansa and French.

His father had been a Civil War veteran, and Curtis was largely raised by his grandparents after his mother died. He became locally famous as the “Indian jockey” on the regional horse tracks of the era. Yet he eventually traded the saddle for desk-jockeying.

Curtis even overcame discrimination to become a lawyer, though it required him to take a more circuitous route than Harris did by attending the University of California Hastings School of Law.

“He became a lawyer without attending law school—as a Native-American he was not allowed [to attend],” says Laura AM McLaughlin, author of a history of Charles Curtis. “Instead he apprenticed to local attorney AH Case for two years, then passed the bar.”

Abraham Lincoln followed the same path to his legal career, and it’s still an option in many U.S. states. Curtis proved an adept understudy and soon used his growing contacts to launch a political career.

He would go on to win multiple congressional races, and he also became the first democratically elected senator from Kansas. Curtis was first elected to the Senate by the Kansas Legislature in 1907 after the resignation of Joseph R. Burton over a corruption scandal. In 1912, Democrats won the Kansas legislature and Curtis finished out his term the following year. Upon the adoption of the 17th Amendment in 1913, Curtis returned to the Senate in 1914 by winning the popular vote. He remained there until resigning to become vice president.

One fact that modern conservatives should appreciate: He was one of the staunchest opponents of progressive President Woodrow Wilson, especially Wilson’s effort to get the United States to join the League of Nations.

As the official Senate history notes:

“No one ever accused him of being a Progressive,” wrote one Washington correspondent, “but the feminists nevertheless called him friend, and it is one of the proudest of his claims that he led the floor fight for the Nineteenth Amendment,” granting women the right to vote."

When Majority Leader Henry Cabot Lodge left his position as Senate Majority Leader in 1924, Curtis was also a dark horse candidate for President at the Republican presidential conventions of 1924 and 1928 with the second contest being bitterly contested.

Curtis had some early advantages in that 1928 race. He believed that his path to victory at the presidential ballot box would come through the cigar box and the smoke-filled rooms of 1920s Republican Party politics, and he was close with Calvin Coolidge (who had shocked the nation by deciding not to run in 1928). Furthermore, many Republicans recalled that Hoover campaigned for Democrats in 1918.

At the convention held in Kansas City, Missouri, many Republicans supported a “draft Coolidge” effort. When those collapsed, Curtis attempted to rally this wing behind his cause. He ended up balloting third at the convention behind Hoover, then the secretary of commerce, and former Illinois Gov. Frank Lowden. However, Curtis ended up dominating the vice presidential ballot with 1,052 votes—the next closest candidate had 19.

Curtis was a good fit on the ticket because he had influence and appeal in the Midwest, whereas farmers in the farm states distrusted Hoover. Interestingly—despite the 1920s being a peak era for Ku Klux Klan influence and various immigrant scares—Curtis's ethnic heritage seems to have been largely a non-issue. He was not even the only prominent Native American politician of the era. In 1920, Robert Latham Owen of Cherokee heritage launched a Democratic presidential campaign and enjoyed early support from political titan Williams Jennings Bryan.
Title: Athens TE 1946
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2020, 02:22:27 PM
August, 1946: The citizens of Athens, Tennessee stage an armed revolt against their corrupt local government. People had long been outraged by the local Democratic machine, headed by Boss E.H. Crump, which maintained power through graft and electoral fraud, and used the local sheriff's department as a tool of oppression and brutality. The machine also kept tight control over the region's newspapers and its grasp extended to every part of local government: said one veteran returning from WWII, "You couldn't even get hired as a schoolteacher without their okay, or any other job." The sheriff's department routinely rousted returning G.I.s and hit them with trumped up fees and fines to steal as much of their pay as possible.

Receiving no help from the federal government - The Department of Justice had investigated election fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944, but had failed to take any effective action - tensions grew until the August 1946 election, when a group of G.I.s put forward their own slate of candidates in an attempt to overthrow the Crump machine once and for all. They were met on Election day by false arrests, vote fraud, and voter intimidation. Things finally came to a head when an elderly black farmer was turned away from the polls, and subsequently beaten by a policeman with brass knuckles when he and the veteran assigned as a poll watcher objected. The farmer tried to escape, but was shot in the back and killed.

The people had had enough.  A group of veterans and other citizens gathered together and, still desperate for a government solution, telegraphed the Governor of Tennessee and the US Attorney General pleading for help.  But when no response came, and they learned that the sheriff had sent armed deputies to the polling places, the citizens decided that a show of force was necessary. A small group of men broke into the National Guard Armory and stole 60 rifles and a couple of tommyguns, armed the crowd, and went on the march.

By then, word had spread that the sheriff's deputies had seized the ballot boxes and taken them to the local jail. Using the military tactics that they had learned in WWII, the vets quickly developed a battle plan and laid siege to the jail. They knew that they had to take control of the ballots before the Crump machine could arrange for reinforcements, and before they could complete any plans for vote manipulation.

Several hundred armed citizens surrounded the jail and traded gunfire with the sheriff and his deputies. The fighting continued through the night, with small arms fire and even dynamite, but by 3:30 AM the deputies were beaten and finally surrendered.

With their surrender, the ballot boxes were recovered; the G.I. candidates had defeated the Crump machine candidates by a 3:1 margin.
Title: More on Edward Crump
Post by: ccp on November 29, 2020, 07:24:14 AM
(related to Helen from Andy Griffith?  :-D)

any way

his wikipedia history does not even mention the Athens riot of '46. expect in a link to it at very  bottom though
it does mention he was a protector of Georgia Tann who was a child trafficker .

Otherwise his political career is made out to be stellar .
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 29, 2020, 10:15:22 AM

On Thanksgiving, the United States celebrates the Plymouth Colony. However, few know that New England's colonization was a response to major geopolitical pressures -- particularly England's struggle against the Spanish both on the Continent and in the New World....

Editor's Note: In light of the U.S. celebration of Thanksgiving, we are republishing this November 2014 piece explaining the geopolitical and historical context of the Plymouth colony.

The first winter took many of the English at Plymouth. By fall 1621, only 53 remained of the 132 who had arrived on the Mayflower. But those who had survived brought in a harvest. And so, in keeping with tradition, the governor called the living 53 together for a three-day harvest feast, joined by more than 90 locals from the Wampanoag tribe. The meal was a moment to recognize the English plantation's small step toward stability and, hopefully, profit. This was no small thing. A first, deadly year was common. Getting through it was an accomplishment. England's successful colony of Virginia had had a massive death toll — of the 8,000 arrivals between 1607 and 1625, only 15 percent lived.

But still the English came to North America and still government and business leaders supported them. This was not without reason. In the 17th century, Europe was in upheaval and England's place in it unsure. Moreover, England was going through a period of internal instability that would culminate in the unthinkable — civil war in 1642 and regicide in 1649. England's colonies were born from this situation, and the colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay and the little-known colony of Providence Island in the Caribbean were part of a broader Puritan geopolitical strategy to solve England's problems.

English Woes

Throughout the first half of the 17th century, England was wracked by internal divisions that would lead to civil war. Religion was a huge part of this. The dispute was over the direction of the Church of England. Some factions favored "high" church practices that involved elaborate ritual. The Puritans, by contrast, wanted to clear the national religion of what they considered Catholic traces. This religious crisis compounded a political crisis at the highest levels of government, pitting Parliament against the monarchy.

By the beginning of the 17th century, England had undergone centralizing reforms that gave the king and his Parliament unrestricted power to make laws. Balance was needed. The king had the power to call Parliament into session and dismiss it. Parliament had the power to grant him vital funds needed for war or to pay down debt. However, Parliament had powerful Puritan factions that sought not only to advance their sectarian cause but also to advance the power of Parliament beyond its constraints. Kings James I and his son Charles I, for their part, sought to gain an unrestrained hold on power that would enable them to make decisive strategic choices abroad. They relied, internally and externally, on Catholics, crypto-Catholics and high church advocates — exacerbating the displeasure of Parliament.

Both kings continually fought with Parliament over funding for the monarchy's debt and for new ventures. Both dissolved Parliament several times; Charles ultimately did so for a full 11 years beginning in 1629.

Spain was England's major strategic problem on the Continent. Protestant England saw itself as under constant threat from the Catholic powers in Europe. This led to problems when the people came to see their leaders, James I and his son Charles, as insufficiently hostile to Spain and insufficiently committed to the Protestant cause on the Continent. In order to stop mounting debt, shortly after taking power James made the unpopular move of ending a war with Spain that England had been waging alongside the Netherlands since 1585. In 1618, the Thirty Years' War broke out in the German states — a war that, in part, pitted Protestants against Catholics and spread throughout Central Europe. James did not wish to become involved in the war. In 1620, the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, a relative of Spain's King Philip III, pushed Frederick V, the Protestant son-in-law of England's King James, out of his lands in Bohemia, and Spain attacked Frederick in his other lands in the Rhineland. The English monarchy called for a defense of Frederick but was unwilling to commit to significant military action to aid him.

Puritan factions in Parliament, however, wanted England to strike at Spain directly by attacking Spanish shipments from the Americas, which could have paid for itself in captured goods. To make matters worse, from 1614 to 1623, James I pursued an unpopular plan to marry his son Charles to the Catholic daughter of Philip III of Spain — a plan called the "Spanish Match." Instead, Charles I ended up marrying the Catholic daughter of the king of France in 1625. This contributed to the impression that James and Charles were too friendly with Spain and Catholicism, or even were secret Catholics. Many Puritans and other zealous promoters of the Protestant cause began to feel that they had to look outside of the English government to further their cause.

Amid this complex constellation of Continental powers and England's own internal incoherence, a group of Puritan leaders in Parliament, who would later play a pivotal role in the English Civil War, focused on the geopolitical factors that were troubling England. Issues of finance and Spanish power were at the core. A group of them struck on the idea of establishing a set of Puritan colonial ventures in the Americas that would simultaneously serve to unseat Spain from her colonial empire and enrich England, tipping the geopolitical balance. In this they were continuing Elizabeth I's strategy of 1585, when she started a privateer war in the Atlantic and Caribbean to capture Spanish treasure ships bound from the Americas.

Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay were part of this early vision, but they were both far too remote to challenge the Spanish, and the group believed that the area's climate precluded it from being a source of vast wealth from cash crops. New England, however, was safe from Spanish aggression and could serve as a suitable starting point for a colonial push into the heart of Spanish territory.

The Effects of Spanish Colonization

Spain's 1492 voyage to the Americas and subsequent colonization had changed Europe indelibly by the 17th century. It had complicated each nation's efforts to achieve a favorable balance of power. As the vanguard of settlement in the New World, Spain and Portugal were the clear winners. From their mines, especially the Spanish silver mine in Potosi, American precious metals began to flow into their government coffers in significant amounts beginning in 1520, with a major uptick after 1550. Traditionally a resource-poor and fragmented nation, Spain now had a reliable revenue source to pursue its global ambitions.

This new economic power added to Spain's already advantageous position. At a time when England, France and the Netherlands were internally divided between opposing sectarian groups, Spain was solidly Catholic. As a result of its unity, Spain's elites generally pursued a more coherent foreign policy. Moreover, Spain had ties across the Continent. Charles V was both king of Spain and Holy Roman emperor, making him the most powerful man of his era. He abdicated in 1556, two years before his death, and divided his territories among his heirs. His son, Philip II of Spain, and Charles' brother, Ferdinand I, inherited the divided dominions and retained their ties to each other, giving them power throughout the Continent and territory surrounding France.

Despite having no successful colonies until the beginning of the 17th century, England did see some major benefits from the discovery of the Americas. The addition of the Western Atlantic to Europe's map and the influx of trade goods from that direction fundamentally altered trade routes in Europe, shifting them from their previous intense focus on the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean to encompass an ocean on which England held a unique strategic position. The nearby Netherlands — recently free from Spain — enjoyed a similar position and, along with England, took a major new role in shipping. By the middle of the 17th century, the Dutch had a merchant fleet as large as all others combined in Europe and were competing for lands in the New World. Sweden, another major European naval power, also held a few possessions in North America and the Caribbean. (This led to curious events such as "New Sweden," a colony located along the Delaware River, falling under Dutch control in the 1650s and becoming part of the "New Netherlands.")

England's Drive Into the New World

In spite of its gains in maritime commerce, England was still far behind Spain and Portugal in the Americas. The Iberian nations had established a stronghold on South America, Central America and the southern portions of North America, including the Caribbean. Much of North America, however, remained relatively untouched. It did not possess the proven mineral wealth of the south but it had a wealth of natural capital — fisheries, timber, furs and expanses of fertile soil.

However, much of the population of the Americas was in a band in central Mexico, meaning that the vast pools of labor available to the Spanish and Portuguese were not present elsewhere in North America. Instead, England and other colonial powers would need to bring their own labor. They were at a demographic advantage in this regard. Since the 16th century, the Continent's population had exploded. The British Isles and Northwest Europe grew the most, with England expanding from 2.6 million in 1500 to around 5.6 million by 1650. By contrast, the eastern woodlands of North America in 1600 had around 200,000 inhabitants — the population of London. Recent catastrophic epidemics brought by seasonal European fishermen and traders further decimated the population, especially that of New England. The disaster directly benefited Plymouth, which was built on the site of the deserted town of Patuxet and used native cleared and cultivated land.

After its founding in 1620, Plymouth was alone in New England for a decade and struggled to become profitable. It was the first foothold, however, for a great Puritan push into the region. In time, this push would subsume the tiny separatist colony within the larger sphere of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This new colony's numbers were much higher: The first wave in 1630 brought 700 English settlers to Salem, and by 1640 there were 11,000 living in the region.

Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay were different from nearby Virginia. Virginia was initially solely a business venture, and its colonists provided the manpower. New England, by contrast, was a settler society of families from the start. Both Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay were started by English Puritans — Christian sectarians critical of the state-run Church of England. Plymouth's settlers were Puritan separatists who wanted no connection with England. Massachusetts Bay's colonists were non-separatist Puritans who believed in reforming the church. For both, creating polities in North America furthered their sectarian political goals. The pilgrims wanted to establish a separate godly society to escape persecution; the Puritans of Salem wanted to establish a beacon that would serve to change England by example. Less known, however, is that the financial backers of the New England colonies had a more ambitious goal of which New England was only the initial phase.

In this plan, Massachusetts was to provide profit to its investors, but it was also to serve as a way station from which they could then send settlers to a small colony they simultaneously founded on Providence Island off the Miskito Coast of modern Nicaragua. This island, now part of Colombia, was in the heart of the Spanish Caribbean and was meant to alter the geopolitics of Central America and bring it under English control. It was in this way that they hoped to solve England's geostrategic problems on the Continent and advance their own political agenda.

Providence was an uninhabited island in an area where the Spanish had not established deep roots. The island was a natural fortress, with a coral reef that made approach difficult and high, craggy rocks that helped in defense. It also had sheltered harbors and pockets of fertile land that could be used for production of food and cash crops.

It would serve, in their mind, as the perfect first foothold for England in the lucrative tropical regions of the Americas, from which it could trade with nearby native polities. In the short run, Providence was a base of operations, but in the long run it was to be a launchpad for an ambitious project to unseat Spain in the Americas and take Central America for England. In keeping with Puritan ideals, Providence was to be the same sort of "godly" society as Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth, just a more profitable one. Providence Island would enable the English to harry Spanish ships, bring in profit to end disputes with the crown and bolster the Protestant position in the Thirty Years' War.

But while Massachusetts Bay would succeed, Providence would fail utterly. Both Massachusetts Bay and Providence Island received their first shipment of Puritan settlers in 1630. Providence was expected to yield immense profits, while Massachusetts was expected to be a tougher venture. Both were difficult, but Providence's constraints proved fatal. The island did not establish a cash crop economy and its attempts to trade with native groups on the mainland were not fruitful.

The island's geopolitical position in Spanish military territory meant that it needed to obsessively focus on security. This proved its downfall. After numerous attacks and several successful raids on Spanish trade on the coast, the investors decided in 1641 to initiate plans to move colonists down from Massachusetts Bay to Providence. Spanish forces received intelligence of this plan and took the island with a massive force, ending England's control.

Puritan Legacies

The 1641 invasion ended English settlement on the island, which subsequently became a Spanish military depot. The Puritans left little legacy there. New England, however, flourished. It became, in time, the nearest replica of English political life outside of the British Isles and a key regional component of the Thirteen Colonies and, later, the United States. It was the center of an agricultural order based on individual farmers and families and later of the United States' early manufacturing power. England sorted out its internal turmoil not by altering its geopolitical position externally — a project that faced serious resource and geographical constraints — but through massive internal upheaval during the English Civil War.

The celebration of the fruits of the Plymouth Colony's brutal first year is the byproduct of England's struggle against Spain on the Continent and in the New World. Thus, the most celebrated meal in America comes with a side of geopolitics.

The celebration of the fruits of the Plymouth Colony's brutal first year is the byproduct of England's struggle against Spain on the Continent and in the New World.

It was the center of an agricultural order based on individual farmers and families and later of the United States' early manufacturing power. England sorted out its internal turmoil not by altering its geopolitical position externally — a project that faced serious resource and geographical constraints — but through massive internal upheaval during the English Civil War.

The celebration of the fruits of the Plymouth Colony's brutal first year is the byproduct of England's struggle against Spain on the Continent and in the New World. Thus, the most celebrated meal in America comes with a side of geopolitics.

Title: The 45 1911
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 05, 2021, 04:53:04 AM
Title: American History: Founders Divided
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 09, 2021, 05:47:58 PM
‘The Patriots’ Review: Founders Divided
With his last work, Winston Groom brings to life the acrimonious split between former friends.
Portrait of John Adams (1783) by John Singleton Copely. FOGG ART MUSEUM, HARVARD ART
By Jonathan W. Jordan
Jan. 8, 2021 11:39 am

Fake news, partisan bickering and juvenile name-calling is nothing new in American politics. The election of 1800 was so savagely fought that it resulted in a deadly duel, a constitutional amendment and lifelong estrangement among the Founding Fathers. Whatever we might think of modern political discourse, present-day mud-slingers are relative amateurs when stacked against their 18th-century forebears.

Winston Groom, best known for his novel “Forrest Gump,” devoted the second half of his literary career to American history. His earlier nonfiction works usually focused on events, like the Battle of New Orleans (“Patriotic Fire”), Stephen Kearny’s Western adventures (“Kearny’s March”) and the American Civil War (“Shiloh, 1862,” “Vicksburg, 1863”)—though he also meandered into Alabama football (“The Crimson Tide”), World War I (“A Storm in Flanders”) and presidential biography (“Ronald Reagan”).

By Winston Groom
National Geographic, 415 pages, $30

In his final decade, Groom’s pen shifted to triangular relationships among military leaders. “The Aviators” covered the airplane’s rise through the eyes of Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh. “The Generals” looked at George Patton, Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall. “The Allies” went a step higher, painting an entertaining portrait of the Big Three—Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin—as they crushed the Nazis and built a world that lasted half a century.

Continuing his study of political ménages à trois, Groom steps back to the nation’s birth with “The Patriots: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Making of America.” Released two months after his death in September, “Patriots” is a synthesis of archived letters, popular biographies and colorful insights, with a nod or two to the Broadway hit “Hamilton.”

Groom reprises the formula he deployed for “Generals” and “Allies,” and begins with short biographies of his central characters. Hamilton’s unlikely rise from the poverty of St. Croix will strike a familiar note to fans of “Hamilton.” The Schuyler sisters, Lafayette, John Laurens and Maria Reynolds take their obligatory bows as Hamilton’s journey from trading clerk to Treasury secretary plays out.

For all Hamilton’s latter-day fame, it is Adams whom Groom paints in the most vibrant colors, beginning with his first words on America’s second president: “John Adams was obnoxious. He said so himself. He talked too much and wrote that he wished he didn’t. He was irritable and wished he wasn’t.” But, Groom adds, “He was brilliant and well-read and energetic to a fault—‘a great-hearted, persevering man of uncommon ability and force. . . . He was honest and everyone knew it.’ ”

Jefferson, the polymath from Virginia, evokes Groom’s admiration. “Thomas Jefferson was a true Renaissance man,” he writes. “He was a student of philosophy and law, a scientist, inventor, architect, musician, and lover of fine things—a man of vision.” Yet the overleveraged planter, slaveowner and Southern aristocrat could also be “secretive, sly, and cunning” as he morphed into a canny politician after his return from France in 1789.

Backstories complete, Groom’s relationship story begins as George Washington’s first cabinet wrangles over the scope of the federal government, pitting Hamilton and Vice President Adams against Jefferson. “Hamilton and Jefferson shared a vision of a free, happy, peaceful, and prosperous country, but their definitions of these ideals diverged widely—as did their ideas for achieving them,” Groom explains. “Because they were grappling, often in the dark, with how to hold the nation together, they were terrified of making some mistake that would set the course of the newly formed United States on a poor or even fatal course. Like a band of castaways sailing into uncharted waters without a compass, they had only their theories, suppositions, intuitions, and prayers to guide them.”

Lacking empirical data to support their theories and suppositions, these intellectual giants often backed their positions with slander and demagoguery. The author of one of the world’s most beautiful documents spilled much ink describing Hamilton and his followers as “a stock-jobbing herd,” “corrupt squalor,” and “votaries of the Treasury.” The combative Hamilton responded in kind.

Adams and Jefferson tried to preserve their personal friendship, which dated back to their days in the Continental Congress. But the turbulent tides of the 1790s created an “almost total break between the two former friends,” says Groom. “Jefferson and Adams were now publicly identified as being diametric opposites in the debate to see what form of government would evolve for the United States of America.”

The press became a willing instrument in the slander wars. The Philadelphia Aurora called the nation’s second president “querulous, bald, blind, crippled, toothless Adams.” Pawns like Jefferson’s National Gazette, Hamilton’s Gazette of the United States and Jeffersonian pamphleteer Thomas Paine created a partisan circus that makes CNN and Fox News pundits look dry and academic by comparison.

The depths to which these Founding Fathers sank give the modern citizen ironic comfort in knowing that politics was no nobler in the republic’s formative years. “John Adams could harbor an abiding hate for enemies. But Jefferson and Hamilton attributed the basest motives to the other, which left no room for compromise or even civil disagreement,” Groom writes. “The arguments were reduced to innuendo, ridicule, slander, smearing, and dirty tricks.”

Tying together three famous leaders for a book-length narrative is the biggest challenge for a work like “Patriots.” The interplay of Hamilton, Jefferson and Adams is, however, much closer than that among the subjects of Groom’s earlier works. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met as a group only twice (though their correspondence is extensive), while Patton, MacArthur and Marshall—professional colleagues, not friends—operated on entirely different levels.

The “Patriots” protagonists worked at close quarters and knew each other intimately. Jefferson served as Adams’s vice president; Hamilton and Jefferson worked out a backroom deal to shape the nation’s fiscal future. All three served in Washington’s cabinet, occasionally dining with each other.

As a biographer, Groom develops his Founding Brothers honestly and effectively. The relationship arc, by contrast, seems at times a bit disjointed, for the story is neither chronological nor exhaustive. While the dramatic Hamilton-Burr duel consumes 10 pages, Hamilton’s alleged intrigues to win Thomas Pinckney the 1796 election over Adams and Jefferson is ignored, and the story’s hopeful coda—Jefferson’s postpresidential reconciliation with Adams, developed through 15 years of warm letters, is dispatched in two sentences.

As with its three predecessors, “Patriots” breaks no new ground and offers no unique insights. Like Groom’s other works, it stands or falls on the author’s talent for weaving engaging stories for the general reader. Here is where Groom shines. “Hamilton, Jefferson, and Adams made the country what it is today, and their dust still sparkles like stars in the minds of their fellow Americans,” he concludes. Groom bequeathed his readers an entertaining take on the intellectual war that shaped our nation.

In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics, “Hamilton’s skill with a quill is undeniable.” “Patriots” shows that Winston Groom’s quill likewise remained sharp and bright as he sat down to compose his swan song.

—Mr. Jordan is the co-author, with Emily Anne Jordan, of “The War Queens: Extraordinary Women Who Ruled the Battlefield.”
Title: Re: American History, 1776 Report deleted from WhiteHouse.Gov
Post by: DougMacG on January 21, 2021, 05:53:06 PM

1776 Report calls for teaching objective history.

"Send it to your kids, your friends, your colleagues. We need to fight back against the left’s erasure of history. We worry they are just getting started."   - Steve Moore
Title: Re: American History
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 23, 2021, 07:17:52 AM’s%20Advisory%201776%20Commission%20-%20Final%20Report.pdf?__hstc=36260927.07552b823d759b5cc8aa8677e9e8f37a.1611398574732.1611398574732.1611398574732.1&__hssc=36260927.1.1611398574732&__hsfp=119676746&hsCtaTracking=39cc9083-e8ae-417b-8f97-a339351d0555%7Cce1d4f38-7f03-47aa-970b-41c4af3e55db